Recruit Review: Keeshawn Silver
Among the strengths of North Carolina’s recruiting over the last two years, none have been more impressive than the prospects brought in on the defensive line.
The 2020 class had standouts such as Desmond Evans and Kedrick Bingley-Jones, and the 2021 class is currently being led by four-star defensive end Keeshawn Silver.
Silver, who hails from Rocky Mount, has been a player climbing ranking boards. He has been one of the most adamant recruiters for the Tar Heels since committing in early March.
Part of the reason for Silver’s increase in stock is the work he has put in filling out his frame. He was previously listed at 236 pounds last April but has now bulked up to a reported 260 pounds. This while standing at 6’5” gives Silver a build that is well suited for the next level of competition. Considering that he has consistently grown throughout his high school career, he might not be done yet.
Something that begins to separate Silver is his instinct on the field. He is often in the right place at the right time. Much of this also has to do with his intelligence for the game. Even when his move is taken away, he can still make an impact on a play. He understands pursuit angles and doesn’t give up on the play. If he senses a pass but is already caught up his blocker, he has good timing to jump and swat passes down at the line. Paired with his long arms and athleticism, this could make him a versatile pass rusher.
Silver also possess quick, active hands. On several highlights, you can witness him burst his hands at his take off point and knock down a blocker’s hands. He is also very strong and physical at the point of attack. While this is something he can do, it might be the thing he needs to work on most.
He has been able to dominate many linemen in high school simply due to his size and strength, but he will need to add to his repertoire of rushing skills in order to become a consistent playmaker at Carolina. He is raw in this department, but lucky for him that is something that can be coached. His natural gifts can’t.
Silver will also need to work on his get-off while continuing to learn schemes. Sometimes he needs to be more aggressive at the launch-point, but that can lead to being caught out of the play if you aren’t careful. His fit is often very good, and this will make the learning process easier.
Something that you love to see in top prospects is effort and a high motor, and Silver definitely checks those boxes. He doesn’t give up on plays, and he goes until he hears a whistle. This is perfectly demonstrated on several of his highlights where he played on the offensive side of the ball. As a blocking tight end, Silver could be seen driving his defender 10-20 yards down the field. That type of energy will always be welcome.
It will be interesting to see how Silver adapts his game over his final year at Rocky Mount. There is a chance he could add more weight and be a perfect fit as a strongside defensive end. He could focus on speed and mechanics and work towards playing weakside end. He is a versatile athlete and will most likely be moved all around the line because of that. He has one of the highest ceilings amongst players in the state.