Target 2004: John McEachin

TRINITY, N.C. – Perhaps the only thing that will keep running back prospect John McEachin from donning a North Carolina jersey in 2004 will be academic qualification. The Tar Heels top his list of schools – with N.C. State and Michigan a distant two and three – but there is much work to do in the classroom yet.

That may be why he has yet to receive any official offers, though UNC assistant head coach James Webster has him among one of Carolina's top recruits.

"I've always liked Carolina since I was little," McEachin said. "On the other hand, I'm afraid if I wait too long, I might not get my first choice.

"Coach Webster is a pretty straight-forward guy," he said. "He'll tell you if you're one to the top recruits and how it's done, and where you should fit in. He'll tell you if you need to hurry up and get a decision done, because it gets tricky at the end of the year when you're doing your visits and they all start offering you."

On the field, McEachin has clearly qualified.

He set back-to-back school rushing records at Trinity, first as a sophomore with 1,625 yards and 27 touchdowns. He then went out and topped that as a junior with 2,300 yards on 306 carries and 300 yards receiving for 32 total touchdowns – the latter despite missing the Tri-County conference championship with Ragsdale due to a high ankle sprain.

"He had tears in his eyes going through the walk through," Bulls head coach Kevin Gillespie said. "I told him look, ‘We need you for the playoffs – we're already in,' so I sat him that game."

In McEachin's first game back – the first round of the state 3-A playoffs – he only carried the ball 12 times. In the second round, he gained 140 yards on 18 carries. Then in the Bulls' third round loss against Clayton, McEachin – a workhorse – gained 175 yards on 28 rushes.

"He really took the game on his back," Gillespie said. "If John had been healthy the whole year, he would have easily led the state in rushing. The more times we give him the ball, the stronger he gets.

"Coach Webster came by and told me they were very interested in John, and that he was definitely very high on their list."

"I'm 100 percent now," McEachin said. "I bounced back a long time ago."

So here is where he currently stands academically.

McEachin will easily have his 14 core courses, meaning he will not have to squeeze in an extra work. That's not the issue here.

"This SAT thing…I've got to do good on it before anything else," McEachin said.

His core GPA is 2.18, though his overall is much higher. As it stands now, he would need a 960 on the SAT to qualify, and that would be a bit of a stretch. In his first attempt taking the test, he scored a 600 and that is simply not good enough.

"But he didn't know how to take it then," Gillespie said. "We've since sat down with him and he's gone to a workshop on it that I actually attended with him. That was very good. He's got to study and work on it a little bit, but I think he can pull it up."

McEachin is taking three of his core courses this semester. With three Bs in those classes, his GPA would improve to around 2.5 and he would then need to just score an 820 on the SAT to make it.

"That's closer to something he could realistically get if he does what he needs to do," Gillespie said. "He knows he's got to buckle down.

"He's a good kid; he just struggles a little bit in the classroom," he said. "But also, he's going to do whatever it takes. They get one non-qualifier per year in the ACC. He's good enough that he is going to help somebody. You got to go by the standards, because that's what the rules are. But, there is no doubt in my mind that whenever he gets in, he is going to graduate.

"And he's not one who is going to go out there and steal something, like you hear about some doing."

John McEachin
Height: 5-11
Weight: 190
Position: RB
40-time: 4.5

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