Kentwan Balmer Commits to UNC

Talk about taking the recruiting fast track, Weldon (N.C) defensive end Kentwan "Ken" Balmer has appeared out of nowhere to become the Tar Heels second football commitment for 2004.

Balmer made a visit to camp in Chapel Hill and came away with a scholarship offer. Less than a week later, his mother called UNC assistant coach Ken Browning to tell him her son is going to commit to Carolina.

"My camp experience at Carolina was just great," Balmer told Inside Carolina Friday morning. "The coaching staff made me feel like one of the family. They have been recruiting me since I was a sophomore in high school. I love those guys."

Balmer said he really did not follow sports that much growing up and as a result did not have a favorite team.

"I guess you could say that I was a momma's boy growing up," he said. "I grew up in a single-parent household and kind of hung around the house a lot."

Balmer is athletically gifted. As a sophomore, he was a runner-up for the State 1A basketball player of the year, but he plans to concentrate on just football from here on out.

"I don't see myself playing basketball for North Carolina. Football is what got me my scholarship and that is what I plan on playing."

Camp at North Carolina helped to convince Balmer that Chapel Hill was the place for him. He took a little tour of the campus, the stadium, and the football facilities.

"It was great. There isn't anything like it out there," Balmer said.

He also worked out with defensive line coach Brad Lawing and after camp was invited into head coach John Bunting's office.

"He invited me in and said that my talent was at a point that he felt I could help the team," Balmer said. "He then offered me a scholarship. I wanted to commit right away but my mother asked me to wait a couple of days to think about it. I talked it over with my mother and she called Browning last night [June 19] to tell him. He sounded pretty excited."

Balmer had a chance to meet some of the Carolina football players while at camp.

"I met Dexter Reid and Bobby Blizzard," he said. "They were both really nice and treated me liked I already was part of the team. In fact, the whole time I was at camp I felt like I belonged there."

In basketball, Balmer finished as one of the top three top runners-up for Mr. NCHSAA Basketball for the men's 1-A classification, while picking up Tar Roanoke All-Conference honors. He was named to the Roanoke Rapids Daily Herald Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team, the 2002 NCHSAA 1-A Eastern Regional All-Tournament Team, the Daily Herald All-Area Basketball Team, and was selected as the Daily Herald Player of the Year (Boys)/All-Area MVP and the MVP for Weldon's varsity boys' basketball team.

He also has a friend that is almost a twin brother (although they are not related). Darius Massenburg is a rising junior from Roanoke Rapids, 6-4 and around 240 and is athletically gifted. Balmer stated that he would be recruiting Darius for Carolina to be a part of the 2005 class.

Balmer wants to major in communications at Carolina and is excited to be part of the Tar Heel family.

"Michael Jordan, Julius Peppers, Ronald Curry, and the list goes on. I think to have the opportunity and to be able to be a part of that (legacy) is really something special. I don't plan to visit any other schools or go to any other camps."

It looks like Balmer has found the place where he wants to be.

Special thanks to Miller Safrit

Kentwan "Ken" Balmer
Age: 16 (turns 17 on October 15)
Height: 6-5
Weight: 250
BP: 290
Squat: 550
40-time: 4.8
Position: Defensive End
Tackles: 103
Sacks: 11
VJ: 30.5
HS; Weldon HS, Weldon NC
Offers: UNC
Recruiting: UNC, Maryland, NCSU, and Wake

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