The North Carolina squad boasted several playmakers in their all-star contest against South Carolina last weekend. Among them was NC State commitment Justin Byers from Vance High School in Charlotte, NC. The 6-1, 185 pound safety came up with a big interception against a quarterback generally considered to be one of the nation's best. Byers talked with Pack Pride about that play and how it felt to shut down South Carolina's all-american QB.
"It felt great to get that interception," said Byers. "They stressed all week how good Willy Korn was so we practiced all week on shutting down the pass and how we were going to play our game and let everything come to us. Basically that's what we did, just changing up the defensive coverages and keeping him guessing on where we were going to be at. I guess the coaches did a good job of preparing us and we worked hard in practice."
Byers added that there's a tremendous amount of pride involved in the Shrine Bowl and it was an honor to bring another victory home to North Carolina.
"It feels great," he said. "The Shrine Bowl is something you'll remember for the rest of your life. The stuff I've seen down here and learned meant a lot and it changed me. I know now that the Shrine Bowl isn't just about football. It's much more than that."
Byers committed to NC State nearly five months ago and had built a strong relationship with the former staff. Despite the dismissal of Chuck Amato, Byers maintains his commitment to the Wolfpack.
"I'm still committed to State," said Byers. "A bunch of schools have been getting in touch with me like Virginia Tech. NC State, right now, is still number one. I've talked to coach Portee and coach Cignetti about setting my official visit. I called coach Portee Friday night and coach Cignetti texted me before the game, just wishing me good luck."
North Carolina boasted a half dozen commits in the Shrine Bowl game and Byers said, not only did they all seem solid for State, but many were doing a little recruiting of their own for the Wolfpack.
"We're all saying we're staying committed to NC State," he said. "Really, we've been trying to get other guys to change their commitment to NC State. It's fun playing with in-state players and we're all staying firm with NC State."
Scouting Report: "Justin Byers is a confident cornerback who loves to play close to the line in bump coverage. His experience at playing quarterback this year has helped him quite a bit because he is doing a good job of jumping routes in zone coverage. Not seeing much of a burst or makeup speed yet, but that could be due to a prexisting leg injury dating back to last year. Listed at 6-0, very close to that and may be able to rotate over to free safety in college if needed." -- Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Miller Safrit
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Charlotte (NC) Vance Defensive Back Justin Byers