Ebron Gets Player's Experience

Eric Ebron has made many visits to North Carolina in the past. For his official visit this past weekend, though, he got a feel for what it's like to be a member of the football team.

"I got to see what it felt like to be an actual player," Ebron said. "It was great. I had a lot of fun."

Most North Carolina verbal commitments wait until after the football season to take their official visits, unless they are enrolling early. Ebron had considered early enrollment and thus scheduled his official visit for this past weekend. When he realized graduating early from Greensboro (N.C.) Smith wasn't a possibility, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end decided not to move his official visit.

"I tried to get in early, but I couldn't fit my other math class into my schedule," Ebron said. "The way the math class goes, it was only for first or second block and what I had first and second block, I didn't want to replace."

Like a player, Ebron, who arrived in Chapel Hill alone after Smith's playoff loss Friday night, didn't receive the luxury of sleeping in a hotel room like most official visitors. Instead, he slept in the dorm room of freshman wide receiver Reggie Wilkins, who served as his player host.

"To hang out with Reggie it just felt like I was part of the team," Ebron said. "Reggie made me feel welcome. I just spent time with him and had a lot of fun."

Included in acting as a player, Ebron recruited for UNC throughout the weekend.

"I was in Devonte [Brown's] ear all weekend," Ebron said. "I let T.J. [Thorpe] have Alex Dixon and I said ‘Ok, I have Devonte then. Ok, that's cool.'

"I didn't really have a pitch. I was just playing like I was a normal player at UNC. I told him I just want to have the best team with me when I go [to UNC]. So I was like ‘Look man, if you come, we're going to come and do what we do best.' I said ‘We're all going to play some football, we're all going to have some fun, and we're just going to win games.'"

Ebron and Thorpe were successful in their recruiting efforts. Both Brown and Dixon verbally committed to UNC before ending their official visits.

Ebron did, however, engage in some standard recruit activities, such as the customary meeting with Butch Davis.

"He let me know what my path is coming into Carolina," Ebron said. "They want me to become a leader and to try to play as soon as I can. I felt like I was player more than I was a recruit."

UNC's offense utilizes two tight ends – a ‘Y' (tight end) and an ‘H' (H-back).

"I guess I'm more of the ‘Y' tight end," Ebron said. "I really don't completely understand the offense yet. ‘X,' ‘Y,' ‘Z' – I don't really know what I'm playing, but as long as I'm playing."

Ebron has started as a traditional tight end (‘Y') for Smith since his junior season, but was flanked out a lot. He ended his senior season with 20 catches for 510 yards and six touchdowns. He also started at defensive end, where he accumulated 15.5 sacks and roughly 40 tackles.

For the 2010 season, Smith got off to a school record start with ten straight wins. But it lost its final two games, including its first round playoff game against High Point (N.C.) Central, 28-22.

"We got too big headed as a team, including myself," Ebron said. "We were a great team – a great one. But when you get too big for your britches then no one can tell you anything."

Ebron, along with eight other UNC verbal commitments, was selected to represent North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl, which will be played on Dec. 18. He's listed as a wide receiver on the roster.

"We're going to take this Shrine Bowl thing and try to take it back to NC for a second [consecutive] time," Ebron said. "[The fellow UNC commitments and I] are going to build chemistry together and take it back to NC."

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