Monday afternoon marked a terrific start of the week for the University of North Carolina wrestling program. A pair of top 50 prospects in the Class of 2017 verbally committed to the Tar Heels, both from the Chicago area. No. 11 Austin O'Connor (St. Rita) is a three-time state champion, while No. 47 Jamie Hernandez (Oak Park River Forest) is a two-time state medalist, including a runner-up finish this past season.
O'Connor ended the 2015-16 season ranked No. 3 nationally at 145 pounds, after a time period that included a runner-up finish at the Super 32 Challenge during the pre-season. He was also a Junior Nationals runner-up in Greco-Roman during the summer of 2015 and a double Cadet National All-American in Fargo during 2014. O'Connor projects as either at 157 or 165 in college.
After the 2015-16 season came to a conclusion, Hernandez was runner-up in the 63 kilogram (138.75 pound) weight class at the UWW Cadet freestyle nationals, and then placed eighth in Junior freestyle at 138 pounds last month in Fargo. He was also a two-time Cadet National freestyle All-American, including a runner-up finish in 2014. Hernandez projects to compete at 149 in college.
O'Connor and Hernandez join No. 95 Clay Lautt (St. James Academy, Kans.) as top 100 commits in the 2017 recruiting class for North Carolina.