This year's North Carolina team is planning to implement a shotgun-spread passing attack so selecting a quality passer is a must and the staff invited four quarterbacks to the workout: Matthews Butler's Christian LeMay, Mt. Ulla West Rowan's B.J. Sherrill, Charlotte Mallard Creek's Marquis Williams, and Durham Hillside's Vad Lee. All four quarterbacks had their moments, particularly during seven-on-seven's, but the two who impressed us the most were LeMay and Sherrill.
LeMay, a Georgia commitment, is considered by some to be the top player in the state and he showed why. He has a good arm and is very accurate, but what sets LeMay apart is his quick decision making and outstanding mechanics. He's fairly polished as a passer and showed he could make plays on the run or in the pocket. LeMay looked comfortable in the shotgun and did a good job of putting the ball in a position for his players to make plays.
Often times he relied too much on his receivers to make plays, but overall he had a good day and should be a lock for the team. Moving forward to the college level he's going to have to bulk up physically which could also improve his arm strength.
Sherrill impressed us more than any other performer on the day. Going in there wasn't many expectations for him. He's still looking for his first high-major offer while the other three quarterbacks have double-digit offers.
At 5-foot-10 and 228 pounds he's built more like a fullback than a quarterback and definitely doesn't wow you physically. However, he made plays all day long. He showed good velocity and was able to make all the throws. Like LeMay he was sound with his decisions and did a very good job of ball placement... perhaps even better than LeMay. Sherrill was strong at delivering the ball where only his receiver could make the catch and a lot of times he led his wideout instead of putting the ball up for him to make a play. He was really, really good during 11-on-11s and the two-time defending state champion should be in the mix for a Shrine Bowl invite. He's a player.
Sherrill has plans to camp at Wake Forest this weekend and could also attend camp at South Carolina. He may also attend a one-day camp at NC State.
Williams and Lee had their moments, but were inconsistent when we viewed them. Williams showed good pocket awareness and a strong arm, but threw the only interception we saw during 11-on-11s and didn't seem comfortable when asked to make plays outside of the pocket. Lee was probably the fourth-best quarterback on the day and struggled with his accuracy. He also has a chance to play wide receiver or defensive back on the next level.
Because of the offense you didn't really get to see much out of the tailbacks but physically the most impressive was Kannapolis A.L. Brown standout Travis Riley. The UNC commitment is extremely developed and appears to be a very good north-south runner on film. The question is if Riley is a good fit for the Shrine Bowl team's spread attack that will likely favor shifty backs capable of making plays catching the ball out of the backfield. He should be the ideal tailback in UNC's pro-style offense.
Several of the other backs looked solid catching the football, including: Charlotte Independence star Nyjee Fleming, Richmond County's Walter Ellerbee, Salisbury High standout Romar Morris, and Charlotte Ardrey Kell speedster Justus Pickett.
The wide receivers were led by UNC commitments Eron Ebron and T.J. Thorpe, and Sherman Ragland, one of the state's hottest prospects. Ebron, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, is a physical specimen at wide receiver who is being recruited to play tight end but is currently undersized for the position. He's not a natural pass-catcher at wideout and had a case of the drops at times during the workouts but was a big target across the middle for the quarterbacks. Thorpe does a very good job of getting open and has terrific hands. He has consistently performed well all spring at various camps.
Ragland, who is also being recruited to play safety, ran terrific routes during one-on-ones but didn't see the ball thrown his way much during 11-on-11s. He could be close to making a decision and Wake Forest is his current leader, but Ragland visited NC State on Wednesday and is expected to head back to Raleigh on Sunday for the Wolfpack's camp. He also holds offers from Wake Forest, South Carolina, Duke, Virginia, and East Carolina.
Other wide receivers who impressed were Mallard Creek's Kevin Asfante and East Forsyth's Chase Kellum. Kellum, who runs in the mid-4.6 range at 6-foot-1, made a bunch of plays. His routes were crisp and he battled defensive backs for catchable balls. He also showed a willingness to come back to his quarterback when he saw the pocket break down, leading to completions that otherwise could have been sacks or incompletions. He might not be a high-major prospect, but Kellum showed he could play with the other wide receivers and defensive backs and has to be in the mix for an invite.
As with the running backs we weren't able to see much from the tight ends given the offense ran a lot of four-wide sets. As previously mentioned, Ebron worked with the wide receivers, but Clemson verbal Eric MacLain was on hand. In fact, MacLain spent time at defensive end due to the lack of reps for tight ends. The state's other big-time tight end recruit, Charlotte Ardrey Kell's Drew Owens, was also invited. Owens has a big-time frame and physically looks the part of a high-major tight end prospect. He ran a few reps out of the slot, but we didn't see any passes thrown his way. He currently holds double-digit offers and has NC State in his top five.
As a group the offensive linemen performed well during one-on-ones. UNC commitment Jarrod James, Wake Forest verbal Dylan Intemann, and high-major target Joe Gore were the biggest names in attendance, and all three had their moments.
James and Gore worked mainly at left tackle, but both are at different stages of development. James is developed physically and mauls defensive linemen. He had some trouble with quickness off the edge but did a good job once he was able to lock up his defender.
Gore is still developing physically and can add a lot of weight, but he is much more longer than James and has the physical attributes you look for in an offensive line recruit, even though most schools are recruiting him to play defensive end. Intemann's probably the furthest along of the three, as he's developed physically (and can get even bigger), but was better technique-wise and has good feet for a big man.
In our opinion, Greensboro Page guard Will Foxx was the top lineman during drills and one-on-ones. Foxx plays with good leverage and technique, and he displays a nasty streak you love seeing in linemen. He consistently would lock up with his defender and it would be over. A talker, he let everyone know that he wasn't getting beat and went out and backed up his words. Great effort on the day and was one of the top offensive performers overall. Foxx holds an offer from East Carolina but should land more assuming he attends some college camps this summer.