Thorpe Ready for UNC

T.J. Thorpe's North Carolina career will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday when he moves into his dorm.

"We have our itinerary for the day and the whole weekend," Thorpe said. "The first day, we're just going to be moving in, settling down, and just getting familiar with the area – but because I live right here I'm already familiar.

"On Sunday or Monday or maybe both days, we have a team meeting. We'll probably all introduce ourselves as the new guys and go over the NCAA rules – I would imagine."

Thorpe, a 6-foot, 177-pound wide receiver, graduated from Durham (N.C.) Jordan in December and says all of his enrollment paperwork is completed.

"It feels good," Thorpe said. "I feel pretty relieved."

Thorpe isn't exactly sure what he'll major in. However, he's looking into the sports management and communications fields.

In addition to getting a jump on his college academics, enrolling early will provide Thorpe an opportunity to participate in spring practice.

"I'm really confident that I could see the field real early," Thorpe said. "… I know I have a lot to learn. But I'm going to compete and do the best I can to put myself in the best position to get on the field."

Besides reps at wide receiver, Thorpe, who holds the state single season record for most kick returns for touchdowns, will compete for return duties.

"[UNC] has lost a lot of returners – Shaun Draughn, Kendric Burney, and Da'Norris Searcy," Thorpe said. "The coaches know my capabilities as far as that goes."

In preparation for his quest to play early, Thorpe has been working out, including working on his speed, since his senior season concluded.

Thorpe took a break from his workout schedule in mid-December to represent North Carolina in the Shrine Bowl. In the game, he had an eight-yard reception and four kick returns for 104 yards.

On Thursday night, Thorpe watched UNC's come-from-behind, double-overtime win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl.

"All in all, it kind of summed up the whole season really," Thorpe said. "There were a lot of crazy things going on, but you could see everybody still stuck together and fought it out until the very end. It just shows who they are. That's the type of program I want to be a part of."

The following day, Thorpe contacted UNC assistant coaches Ken Browning and Charlie Williams, whom he speaks to weekly.

"I congratulated them on the win," Thorpe said. "They said they can't wait to get me down to the school and have the recruiting process completely over."

Thorpe also speaks to several fellow verbal commitments regularly. Some – including Eric Ebron, Travis Hughes, and Marquise Williams – he talks to daily and at unexpected times.

"The other night, Marquise just called me at 2 o'clock in the morning," Thorpe said. "He said ‘Are you up?' I said ‘Yea, now I'm up. What's up?' ‘I just wanted to call you.'

"I was kind of upset at the fact that it was that early in the morning and I'm trying to sleep. But, at the same time, it felt good that he views me as his brother that he can call whenever he wants to talk. It just shows the relationship we have."

Thorpe is UNC's longest active verbal commitment. With that, he's seen the 2011 class evolve and sustain ups and downs.

"I feel like on paper, we look like one of the strongest classes North Carolina has had in a while," Thorpe said. "We've very close knit. It seems like whatever the team is doing we make it our business to do the same thing – as far as sticking together for the coaches…. It's been a long ride, but we've made it through it."

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