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RALEIGH — Saturday night’s victory over N.C. State was more than just another win for North Carolina.

Not only did the Tar Heels snap a three-game losing streak to the Wolfpack and reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016, but it sharpened Mack Brown’s recruiting pitch as he prepared to hit the road on Monday.

“I'll be in high schools and homes really for the next two weeks, but starting Monday, all next week and it'll be a whole lot easier to walk in there with a smile,” Brown said.

Priority No. 1 for the Tar Heels leading into National Signing Day on Dec. 18 is landing Trenton Simpson, a four-star linebacker out of Charlotte Mallard Creek, to put a bow on a recruiting class that 247 Sports currently ranks No. 17 nationally and third in the ACC behind Clemson and Miami.

With 13 players ranked among the state’s top 50 players in this class after landing five last season, Carolina is quickly wrestling away the Wolfpack’s control in recruiting the state’s best players.

With the new locker room, players lounge, weight room inside Kenan Football Center and turf at Kenan Stadium, the Tar Heels got the material changes they needed. Then, improving from two victories in 2018 to six in 2019 gives Brown something he can sell beyond his hall of fame experience with tangible progress and a vision of where potential recruits could fit in Jay Bateman’s 3-4 defense and Phil Longo’s version of the Air Raid.

"Oh boy, it means everything,” Brown said. “Last spring, we were selling hope and now (Athletic Director) Bubba (Cunningham), he and the Rams Club gave us money for facilities, so our facilities are really nice now and when a young recruit comes in there, he's excited about it,” Brown said.

One more chance to showcase the program in a bowl game — likely on ESPN — also comes with the benefit of 15 additional practices leading up to the game.

That’s 15 additional chances for a young offensive linemen and defensive backs to get on the field, and 15 additional chances for Sam Howell to practice with the receiving corps Carolina will have back in its entirety next season.

“It means a lot, especially for the younger guys,” Howell said. “That’s huge; that’s a whole spring ball. It’s important for our younger guys especially, to develop.”

Then there’s that other thing.

One season into Brown’s return, he’s 2-0 against Duke and State in his return to Carolina, and that certainly counts for something with fans.

“This win gives your fans, your boosters, a chance to walk into work Monday with a smile on their face, when they've got someone from the other team,” Brown said. “That hasn't happened for us a lot. So, I'm really proud for our fans. This was an important win for them."