Rashad Ready to Enroll

With his enrollment quickly approaching, North Carolina verbal commitment Shakeel Rashad's stomach has begun to fill with butterflies.

"It's getting close," the 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) Episcopal said. "I started to get a little nervous for a while, but then I realized I made the right decision so I'm happy. I'm not nervous about the school at all – it's just going off to school. I'm nervous about going off to college – the same nervous that any student would have. I'm nervous about being on my own and having to cook food – I've never had to do that.

"But, I'm ready to get in there and get to work."

Adding to Rashad's nervousness is the lack of a face-to-face meeting with anyone from the new staff.

"It's scary, but it doesn't make me change my mind at all," Rashad said. "I chose UNC because of the school. There could be whoever in there and I'd be fine."

Since their initial phone conversation a few weeks back, Dan Disch, UNC's defensive coordinator, has called Rashad weekly with their most recent discussion occurring last Thursday.

"He asked me if I was ready to go in and I said ‘Absolutely,'" Rashad said. "He asked me when I arrive. I told him on the seventh [of January]."

The Dead Period, which began Dec. 19 and lasted until Tuesday, has prevented any face-to-face meetings between Rashad and Disch. Thus, Rashad has had to rely on his phone conversations with Disch and comments from others that know him.

"He sounds like a great guy," Rashad said. "I've heard all great things about him. My conversations with him have been great and then from people that have known him from other schools, they said that they loved him, too. Like Joe Jackson, I was talking to him this last weekend and he said he knew Coach Disch from [Southern Miss], and he said he's an awesome coach – he's excited about it. I have no reason to be afraid or have any reservations about [Disch]."

However, Rashad's conversations with Disch haven't resulted in a better understanding of what defensive scheme UNC will employ or how he exactly fits into it.

"Last I heard, [my position] could be inside or outside [linebacker]," Rashad said. "I finished up [my senior] season at 218 [pounds] and since then I've gained 8 or 9 pounds so I'm 225, 226 [pounds] right now."

One of the benefits of Rashad's early enrollment is being able to participate in spring practice.

"Really, with football I just have the goal to get better every day," Rashad said. "Obviously, I want a chance to get on the field, but I realize that's going to be a little tougher to do in college than in high school. I'm ready to go to work and get a chance at [getting on the field]."

Rashad will officially arrive on campus on Saturday afternoon. Most of the weekend will be spent getting settled.

"They gave us an itinerary, but I haven't looked at it much," Rashad said.

At least for the spring semester, Rashad was scheduled to share a suite with fellow early enrollees Bryce Kennedy, Terrence Knox, and Patton Robinette. Since the arrangement was initially set up, Kennedy has switched his commitment to NC State.

"I haven't met any of them actually," Rashad said. "I talked to Terrance Knox a little bit the day of Christmas. I haven't talked to Patton Robinette. I'm definitely getting the true college experience with not even really knowing my roommates."

UNC's spring semester begins on Monday. Rashad will begin with an undeclared major, but said he's strongly considering Exercise and Sports Science.

Shakeel Rashad Profile

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