Early Enrollee Q&As

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Five members of North Carolina's top-20 2011 recruiting class enrolled more than three weeks ago. Inside Carolina talked with the early enrollees Wednesday at the Kenan Football Center ...

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Can you talk about UNC's offense and how it fits your skills?
"This offense is going to be a great opportunity for me. I told everyone, if you want to play in a pro style in the NFL, you've got to go to a pro style offense (in college). ... Some of the offense we do is what a lot of great teams in the NFL do."

What's it been like enrolling early and getting into the mix already?
"I'm just learning things right now - it's going a little slow for me because I'm coming right out of high school and Renner, Blue and Braden, they've been here. They have a little edge, but they're my family and they are teaching me the concepts. I'm just trying to learn and compete. If I don't win the job or I am redshirted, as long as I competed and tried my hardest, that's all that matters to me."

How important was it to you to come in with a recruiting class like this, ranked Top 15 nationally?
"When I committed, I started seeing a lot of people commit and I started to think about how this class was about to be amazing. Coach Shoop and me were talking about it earlier ..."


What were your biggest concerns about the NCAA investigation?
"My biggest concerns were just the whole aspect of probation. I'm not one really about the bowls -- of course, I would love the bowl gifts and that kind of thing -- but I personally feel that if you go out and do the things that you're capable of, then people will notice you. However, I felt like I didn't want to be a part of something that was going well and then moving on a down slope and then we'd be stuck losing scholarships. Then the next class after that would be terrible or not as good and then we'd be stuck with a team with 30-40 players and we're losing every game. So I just wanted to avoid that and do whatever was best for me. I felt ultimately that staying here was the best thing."

On letting the staff worry about the NCAA issues:
"They just let everything brush off their shoulders and stayed focused on the team. With all of the success that the team had... Honestly, I felt like if they could do that, then it was my responsibility to go out and leave everything in their hands and just play football on Fridays and do what I can in the playoffs and the Shrine Bowl game. Whatever else the season had in store for me, just go out and do that."

On how the staff filled him in on the review:
"[They] let us know that things were being done the right way. Some stuff did happen that they weren't aware of and couldn't control, but as far as everything that they can control, they were going to help the NCAA out with everything they needed. And I just felt with them doing that, everything was being done the right way."


This class furthers what is a young and talented offensive line group here ...
"I don't want to predict the future, but I definitely feel we're going to be successful in the coming years."

Sam Pittman, how important was he in your decision to come to UNC?
"You just can't say 'no' to the guy. He's a really exciting coach. He's tough, but he can be your friend too - he's got that good balance about him. And he's funny, I like funny people and he always makes me laugh."

Every interview I see you're smiling and laughing - is that just your personality?
"Yeah, I smile a lot. Back home they called me a teddy bear ... One of the academic counselors here already calls me 'Teddy,' so I don't mind it."


How's your first three weeks on campus been so far?
"It's been great. It's everything I expected and more. I've had the opportunity to work out and class and everything is going okay."

What pulled you to North Carolina?
"Some of the players and just the family atmosphere around here. And most definitely Coach Davis."

On Davis's ability to put defensive linemen in the pros:
"It did play a huge part. I do want the opportunity to play at the next level and also want to have a great career at North Carolina, so I felt pretty good about the defensive line situation here."

Can you play both line positions?
"I played end a little bit at junior college, but my primary position is defensive tackle."


On gelling with the other early enrollees:
"I've been around them a lot, with the Shrine Bowl and then getting here... They're just crazy [and] goofy, but when it's time to get in the weight room and exercise and get out on the football field, they're serious about what they do. We have a real good chemistry."

On his first couple of weeks on campus:
"The transition has been very smooth. The football staff here and the support staff make it smooth. The academic department keeps you on track and in the weight room, they keep you on track. They walk you through things -- they don't just feed you to the tiger, so it's been really smooth."

On the decision to enroll early:
"I just looked at the big picture of getting in here and getting acclimated not only to football, but also to the classroom. Getting in here and participating in spring ball, getting used to weight lifting and getting used to just being here. All of that factored into it."

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