"I could tell in his voice he was like ‘Wow.' So I made a little small talk and told him ‘Coach, I'm just ready.' He was excited. He started screaming – you know how Fedora is. And then he said I made his night. I told him he made my life."
UNC is the only school thus far to have offered Dinkins, a 6-foot-2, 235-pounder from Charlotte (N.C.) Olympic. However, he was fielding significant interest from Clemson, Florida State, NC State, Tennessee, and Virginia. If more offers surface, Dinkins plans to stick to his pledge.
"I'm a man of my word," Dinkins said. "When I say I'm committed, I'm loyal. I'm sure other schools will come, but I really don't have any interest in any other schools. North Carolina is where I want to go."
After camping at Clemson last week, Dinkins accepted a late invitation to attend "Fedora's Freak Show" on Thursday.
"To be honest, when I came in there, I didn't really know what to expect," Dinkins said. "… But when I got there and witnessed that atmosphere in that weight room, running onto the field, Fedora – I didn't expect that… I just felt like everybody was real hungry. The vibe I was getting with the hunger was something I could relate to."
At the conclusion of the camp, Fedora pulled Dinkins, who worked out exclusively at defensive end, aside and made an exciting night even better.
"[Fedora] was basically like ‘You have a home here at Carolina,'" Dinkins said. "And he told me I have an offer. He told me ‘Whenever you're ready, just call me.'
"When he made me that offer, I couldn't put [the feeling] into words. I felt so accomplished. When I got to high school and realized football was what I wanted to do, I made sure no matter how old you were or how big you were, I was going to outwork you – that was my mentality. I have been doing it for so long, so I was like ‘When is it going to pay off?' What it did, it just felt so good to know that somebody actually saw my hard work."
When word spread of the scholarship offer, Clemson and Tennessee picked up their recruiting efforts with Dinkins.
"The next day after I got the offer, I talked to Tennessee and Clemson on the phone," Dinkins said. "They were throwing stuff at me. Tennessee was talking about camps. It was overwhelming at that moment. But for Carolina to offer me that scholarship and to be that first school to step out on a limb and say ‘We're going to give this kid a chance, we see his potential' that meant a lot. I just felt at home. All the coaches showed me a lot of love. All the coaches were real welcoming. Everybody had a nice attitude."
As a freshman, Dinkins earned a spot in Charlotte (N.C.) Vance's defensive rotation. Following the season, his family moved, forcing him to transfer to Olympic where he became a starter and ended the season as the team leader in sacks.