UNC Pulling Muse In

Lineberger Stadium, home of Belmont (N.C.) South Point, regularly draws a large, passionate crowd for Friday night football games. Last Friday, none of the spectators arrived in the fashion of Larry Fedora, who was on hand to watch Tanner Muse, one of the top 2015 in-state prospects.

"It was actually between plays and a helicopter started coming down on a practice field that's on the other side of the stadium," Muse said. "We were actually on defense at the time. Everybody stopped for a little bit, but the play clock was running.

"[Fedora] got down there and we ran a couple of plays. By the time he started watching, they were punting it to me and I took it back for a touchdown."

Earlier in the week, Muse, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, was informed that he'd have a special guest for the game.

"Coach [Mickey] Lineberger said that Coach Fedora and Coach [Ron] West were going to come watch us play," Muse said. "But he didn't really tell us how they were going to come until Friday afternoon during school. He let me know they were going to come on helicopter, which was pretty cool. I really enjoyed that and everybody in the community loved it."

Knowing what was about to happen didn't make the moment any less impressive for Muse.

"I tried to stay focused on the game, but it was kind of hard," Muse said. "I tried to act like I didn't see it."

Muse's punt return touchdown seemed like a dramatic response to Fedora's entrance, but Muse says that wasn't the case.

"I just knew what I had to do during the play," Muse said. "I always just try to go as hard as I can. I just found a hole and it was just the luck of the draw, I guess."

Actions speak louder than words and Fedora's helicopter entrance on Friday night is just the latest action that spoke to UNC's interest level in Muse. On Sept. 1, the first day juniors could receive recruiting mail, Muse's mailbox was overflowing with letters from Chapel Hill.

"It means a whole lot," Muse said. "It means that they're just really interested in me and I just appreciate everything that they're doing for me. It really helps out with where I want to go and where I'm looking at. It really pulls me in."

Muse doesn't have a leader and hasn't eliminated any school from consideration. However, he admits that Clemson, UNC, and NC State have risen above the other schools recruiting him. He plans to take the recruiting process day-by-day, but aims to make a verbal commitment by early next summer.

"I'm going to look at where I'd be on the depth chart and how I fit into the campus and how I think I'd be if I did go to that school," Muse said.

Muse, who also excels on the diamond, will try to play baseball in college, but his No. 1 concern is football in college. Therefore he's not necessarily looking into schools' baseball programs, but said a good program would be a bonus.

Though he stars at safety for South Point, UNC plans to bulk Muse up and move him closer to the line-of-scrimmage.

"They talked to me about getting bigger and playing Bandit or Ram – stepping up, rushing, covering people, and manning up," Muse said. "They want me more up towards the line – be a linebacker."

Muse's schedule is pretty full – outside of football, he plays baseball almost year round and he holds a summer job. Thus, it's been difficult for him to take recruiting trips. Since a June visit to UNC, Muse hadn't made any visits until he attended the Clemson-Georgia game during college football's opening weekend.

"[The Clemson game] was not like anything else," Muse said. "It was so decked out and just the people were so drawn together. It was just crazy."

Muse plans to attend future college games, but is unsure of the actual games or any definite destinations.

Tanner Muse Profile

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