"What separates him is his work ethic," Havelock head football coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "He is probably the hardest working kid I've ever had in the weight room… My assistant and I came by the school over the Christmas break, we looked on the field and Derrell had hopped the fences – all the gates were locked – and was running sprints with the parachute his dad had gotten him for Christmas. This was over Christmas holidays! Everybody else was eating turkey and he's out here doing sprints over the holidays. He's not satisfied with being one of the best players in North Carolina; he wants to be the best player in the country.
"On the practice field, he is one of the biggest competitors. All of our kids are competitors, but with him he doesn't like to lose at anything. He competes with guys in the weight room – if somebody is doing more weight than him in his group, he's going to try to do his weight.
"I think his work ethic is the big thing and also he's so physically strong and fast. I've never seen him get caught. He was running away from [in-state football powers] New Bern and Rose. He can stop and cut on a dime. He can see the field. He could be going full speed and put his foot in the ground and be going the other way without slowing down."
Bryant began hearing about Scott while he was in middle school. Once Scott reached high school, he didn't disappoint and immediately became Havelock's starting running back and cornerback.
"He's unbelievable," Bryant said. "He started both ways for us [in 2010] as a freshman. On a team that has been to the eastern finals two years in a row, he was good enough to start as a freshman both ways."
That inaugural season, Scott rushed for 500 yards and six touchdowns and accumulated 250 yards and three more scores on receptions. He also had 32 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
Scott followed that up by breaking the school record for rushing yards in a season as a sophomore. He compiled 1,807 yards and 22 touchdowns on 179 carries (10.1 average).
"Because we spread the ball around so much on offense, he only averaged about ten carries a game," Bryant said.
Scott also caught 17 passes for 235 yards and a score, returned two kickoffs to paydirt, and intercepted a pass on defense.
Havelock ended the 2011 season undefeated and with a NCHSAA 3A Title.
"It was a great experience," Scott said. "It was a lot of hard work and dedication. We had to buy into what the coaches were saying. And when we did, great things happened."
Although he's a 2014 prospect, Scott has collected scholarship offers from East Carolina, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
"It feels good [to have offers], but I try not to think about it too much," Scott said. "I just try to focus on high school football and stay humble."
Apparently, staying humble hasn't been difficult for Scott.
"South Carolina contacted him and offered him, and then East Carolina contacted him and offered him, but he didn't tell any of us," Bryant said. "I called him and said, ‘Derrell, you're not going to call me and tell me you got your first offer?' He said, ‘Coach, I didn't want to seem like I was bragging about it.'"
The UNC offer was his latest. It arrived roughly three weeks ago when assistant coach Randy Jordan contacted Bryant.
"I was surprised," Scott said. "I didn't expect it, but it felt good."
So early in his recruitment, Scott doesn't claim any favorite schools.
"I'm just really open to everything right now," Scott said. "I'm just focusing on school and football."
Bryant believes Scott is a tailback on the collegiate level.
Even though he's a sophomore, Scott has attended junior days at East Carolina and NC State, and will attend UNC's Junior Day on Saturday. He has also visited East Carolina and South Carolina for football games.
Outside of football, Scott runs track for Havelock, participating in the 100-, 200-, and 300-meter dashes and 4x100 and 4x200 relays. His personal best time in the 300 is 37 seconds.