Now Hal Hunter and the UNC coaches are interested in a couple of Tyler's teammates for 2004, especially Tar Heel defensive back Chris Curry's younger brother, Aaron. The UNC coaches have asked linebacker Aaron Curry if he wants to play football at UNC, still an official offer is not yet on the table.
If and when the offer does come down, which seems almost inevitable, Curry stopped just short of saying it is a sure thing that he would join his brother in Chapel Hill.
"I'm not locked into going to where my brother goes, but the [UNC] coaching staff has followed me a lot and I like it there a lot," Curry said. "They have asked me if I like it there, and if I want to play where my big brother plays."
Curry, who attended Junior Day at Carolina in March, will return for an official camp visit on June 7. He plans to camp at Virginia as well. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Curry led Smith in tackles last season with over 50 unassisted, and he runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.
Smith head coach Milton Butts admits he has had it pretty good over the past few seasons with Tyler, Curry and rising senior Darren Deemus anchoring his linebacker corps. The Golden Bulls won the Two Rivers 4-A Conference title last year and finished with a 12-3 record.
"We've played good defense over the last couple of years," Butts said. "We've had the talent here. Those three hung together pretty tight, and now those two are going to have to pick it up where Demarcus left off."
While Butts is proud to see so many of Tyler's class graduate, he said he is not looking forward to losing 18 starters.
"That's a lot," Butts said. "A bunch of these players are going to be playing on both sides of the ball. They better get in shape."
Curry will play wide receiver this fall, while Deemus will see action at tailback.
"[Curry] has great hands – his brother was the same way," Smith assistant coach Ernest King said.
One important factor does separate the bookend-combo of Curry and Deemus as far as UNC recruitment is concerned. While Curry is an outstanding student, who will have no problem qualifying academically, Deemus has his work cut out for him in the classroom.
"Darren has got some work to do; [let's] just leave it at that," Butts said. "[But] he's not that far gone that he can't make it. [UNC] is looking at that grade issue. That may be why they are not as high on Darren as they are on Aaron."
According to King, Curry is on course to graduate early.
"That's up in the air…it's got to be OK'd with his mother," King said. "But if he stays on track and does what he is supposed to, then that is a possibility. We are pretty sure that he is going to make it at the college level – academic-wise."
Curry said his parents likely will be instrumental in his final decision.
"I'm looking for a team that puts education first," Curry said. "Then when it comes to football, I'm looking for a team that plays hard, works hard and practices hard at all times."
He lists North Carolina first, followed by Virginia, N.C. State and Clemson.
Deemus, 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds. He bench presses 295 pounds and squats 395. His top schools in order are: Ohio U., N.C. State, South Carolina, UNC and Clemson.