UNC Leading for S.C. DE/LB

A few days after receiving a North Carolina scholarship offer, Jalen Stevens and his Goose Creek (S.C.) teammate Gerald Turner attended the Tar Heels' Junior Day on Saturday.

"It was awesome," Stevens said. "It was easy to connect with the coaches there – they are all cool people. They told us straight up that they want us to play for them. I had a connection with them right away. And it was a real nice campus and they have a real good education plan. The highlights [that they showed us] of the defense made me want to consider North Carolina more."

Even before the visit, Stevens, a 6-foot-3, 216-pounder, considered UNC his leader. Therefore, the trip only solidified those feelings.

"I told myself, I don't care what school it was but whatever school offered me first was going to get a little bit of an edge, because they show me they really, really want me in their system to make an impact on their team," Stevens said. "So [UNC] is the favorite so far, but my options are still options."

UNC offered Stevens a scholarship last Thursday.

"I called Coach [Vic] Koenning and he told me based off the film he seen, I have an offer," Stevens said. "So they offered me Thursday night, but made it legit Saturday."

UNC remains as Stevens' lone scholarship offer, but Georgia Tech and South Carolina appear close to following suit.

"I probably won't start getting a lot of offers until spring practice, because everybody wants to see me play middle linebacker," Stevens said.

Up until late last season when he temporally filled in for a suspended starter at linebacker, Stevens has exclusively played defensive end for Goose Greek. In that one game at linebacker, Stevens registered 10 solo tackles.

Stevens' experience at defensive end and success at linebacker is the perfect recipe for playing the bandit position in UNC's 4-2-5 defense. That's the position Koenning is recruiting him for.

"I feel like [the bandit position] is a challenge, but I'm up for the challenge," Stevens said. "My strengths are pass rushing and dropping into coverage fast."

Prior to UNC's Junior Day, Stevens visited South Carolina. This Saturday, he'll visit both Georgia and Georgia Tech. He'll visit Clemson next week and then return to UNC for its spring game.

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