Meet the New Walk-Ons

The impact of walk-ons is mostly felt in practice, yet every year a select few make valuable in-game contributions. A week after Inside Carolina first reported Drew Davis's addition to the football team as a preferred walk-on, IC is now introducing 13 more preferred walk-ons that have joined the program.

A "preferred walk-on" is a player assured a spot on the team, but is not on scholarship. Additionally, they are often assisted with their admission into the school.

Alex Bales
Rockhurst HS (Kansas City, Mo.)
LB, 6-3, 200

Following a junior season in which he led his team in tackles, Bales was named Class 6 First Team All-State and All-Metro Second Team – both as a linebacker. He also started at wide receiver.

During his junior basketball season, Bales's hip began to bother him. Late in the succeeding track season it was determined that surgery was required. Since surgery before his senior football season would have forced him to miss most – if not all – of his senior football campaign, he postponed the procedure and played at less than full strength.

Besides UNC, Bales, who was an honor roll student, received interest from Boston College, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Video Highlights

Charles Brunson
North Davidson HS (Lexington, N.C.)
WR, 6-1, 185 lbs.

A two-time All-Central Piedmont Conference selection and a All-Davidson County pick as a senior, Brunson was an integral part of North Davidson's offense primarily lining up at wide receiver but seeing action at running back and quarterback. He concluded his senior campaign with 51 receptions for 581 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 203 yards and three scores.

Brunson was an all-conference performer for North Davidson's basketball team, where he averaged 9.8 points, 3.9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals a game during his senior season. He also was a part of the track and field team.

Video Highlights

Ben Craig
William A. Hough HS (Cornelius, N.C.)
S, 5-11, 175 lbs.

In Hough's two-year existence, Craig accumulated 156 tackles – including 27 for a loss and two sacks – and four interceptions. He was named to the All-I-Meck Conference team as a senior while leading his team in tackles with 76 stops.

Craig, an honor roll student who assembled a 4.8 GPA, also was a part of Hough's lacrosse team, scoring eight goals and six assists, and fielding 65 ground balls.

Video Highlights

Ian Dibble
Ardrey Kell HS (Charlotte, N.C.)
DT, 6-2, 215 lbs.

Dibble was named the Southwestern Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. On the season, he amassed 74 tackles, including 26 for a loss and ten sacks, plus three blocked kicks, two pass breakups, and an interception. He also is a two-time All-Southwestern Conference selection and was named to the South Charlotte News All-Region and Charlotte Observer All-Mecklenburg County teams.

Besides UNC, Dibble received recruiting interest from Lenoir-Rhyne, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Albany, and Yale.

Video Highlights

Conor Fry
Ravenscroft HS (Raleigh, N.C.)
LS, 6-2, 270 lbs.

Long snapping guru Chris Rubio ranked Fry as a five-star prospect (Division 1 prospect) and the eighth best long snapper in the 2012 class. He also was named the top long snapper at UNC's Kicking and Specialist Camp last summer. At the 10th Annual National Kicking Event, he posted a .71 average on 15-yard snaps (a time in the .7 and .75 range is considered "optimum").

Fry also started at left offensive tackle and nose guard for Ravenscroft, and maintained a 3.83 GPA.

Fry chose to walk-on at UNC over a Western Carolina scholarship.

Video Highlights

Wyatt Grillo
Chatham Central HS (Bear Creek, N.C.)
OC, 6-3, 240 lbs.

Grillo, who started both ways for Chatham Central, is a two-time All-Yadkin Valley Conference pick at center.

Grillo is also a standout member of Chatham Central's track and field team. He won the NCHSAA 1A Championship in the discus and placed ninth in the shot put. In postseason awards, he tied for the Yadkin Conference Field Athlete of the Year.

Mack Hollins
Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.)
WR, 6-3, 195 lbs.

Hollins played high school ball at Rockville (Md.) Wootton where he started at wide receiver and defensive back, and returned kickoffs. He prepped a year at Fork Union where he played wide receiver and defensive back, and served as a long snapper.

Hollins, who also played lacrosse while at Wootton, decided to walk-on at UNC over interest from several Division I-AA schools, including a scholarship offer from Indiana State.

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Joey Mangili
Jordan HS (Durham, N.C.)
P, 6-2, 185 lbs.

Mangili is a two-time Herald Sun All-Area and two-time All-Pac 6 Conference punter. He ended his junior and senior seasons with a 38-yard punting average. He also split time at quarterback and was a part of Jordan's baseball team where he pitched and was an All-Pac 6 Conference outfielder.

Mangili has been a News and Observer Scholar Athlete-of-the-Week and maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Video Highlights

Andrew Moore
East Chapel Hill HS (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
DB, 5-11, 175 lbs.

In addition to his contributions in the secondary, Moore was a special teams standout – he not only handled placekicking but also had eight blocked kicks during his career. He ended his senior season with 47 tackles, five blocked kicks, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble. During his junior campaign, he blocked three kicks, intercepted a pass, and recovered three fumbles, including returning one for a 65-yard touchdown. As a senior, Moore served as a defensive captain and was named All-Pac 6 Conference honorable mention following the season.

Video Highlights

Shaq Price
Dutch Fork HS (Irmo, S.C.)
WR, 6-1, 175 lbs.

Price is the latest wide receiver prospect to be mentored by Tom Knotts, who has sent several wideouts to the Division I-A ranks including former Tar Heel great Hakeem Nicks. As a junior, Price caught 30 passes for 446 yards and three scores. He bettered those numbers during his senior year, amassing 46 receptions for 757 yards and ten touchdowns.

In addition to UNC, Price received interest from Clemson, South Carolina, and South Carolina State.

Price is the one preferred walk-on that won't enroll until the fall semester.

Video Highlights

Dalton Stogner
Highland Park HS (Dallas, Texas)
WR, 6-3, 195 lbs.

After pulling in 67 catches for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior, Stogner headed into his senior season with a lot of promise. However, an ACL tear suffered in the fourth game ended his senior campaign prematurely. During the injury-shortened season, he managed 22 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Stogner decided to walk-on at UNC over scholarship offers from Colorado State, New Mexico, and North Texas and a preferred walk-on offer from SMU. He took an official visit to CSU in early December.

Stogner was a member of the National Honor Society and maintained a 3.8 GPA.

Video Highlights

Nick Weiler
Lake Braddock HS (Burke, Va.)
K, 6-0, 165 lbs.

Since his sophomore season, Weiler has handled all three kicking disciplines for Lake Braddock. He was named All-Region by the Fairfax Times and All-Met by the Washington Post after converting 30 PATs and five field goals as a senior. He actually had better seasons, points-wise, during his junior (61 PATs and 7 FG for 82 points) and sophomore (54 PAT and 8 field goals for 78 points) seasons.

Throughout his career, Weiler regularly booted his kickoffs into the end zone. During his junior season, he averaged 32.47 yards on 30 punts with nine landing inside the 20-yard line.

Like UNC, West Virginia also offered Weiler a preferred walk-on position.

Weiler also played wide receiver and defensive back during his high school career. He was named to All-Patriot District Second Team for his play at defensive back.

Video Highlights

Ben Wetherby
Independence HS (Charlotte, N.C.)
OC, 5-11, 272 lbs.

Wetherby, who twice received All-Southwestern Conference honors, helped Independence post a 10-3 record in 2011 while blocking for an offense that averaged 222 yards through the air and 173.5 yards on the ground.

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