2014 Target: Braxton Berrios

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina was the first school to offer Braxton Berrios, a versatile athlete from Leesville Road High, a scholarship.

Scouting Report

"He's very dynamic, he's very versatile, he's athletic," Leesville Road head football coach Chad Smothers said. "He's done a good job in the weight room making himself physically able to play the game like it's supposed to be played. The one thing, as dynamic as an athlete he is and the potential for him to score every time he touches it, he's a complete player – he blocks, he does a great job running secondary routes. He does whatever we need to be successful. He works really hard [and] it's important to him to be a complete player.

"On defense, he's not a guy that's going to stand back there in the middle and just let everybody else make the tackle. He's going to stick his nose up in there. It's important to him to be where he's supposed to be and know his responsibility.

"As athletic and gifted as he is, he works extremely hard to get better every day."

At the Nike Combine held in Charlotte in March, Berrios had the top SPARQ rating, a scoring system designed to measure athleticism through combine test scores. His score of 119.52 was tops among the over 1,300 participants. He checked in at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds and then registered a 4.6-second 40-yard dash (for comparison's sake, the best time was 4.55 seconds), combine-best 3.9-second 20-yard shuttle, 39.3-inch vertical jump, and 37-foot power ball toss.

Prep Career

In his short career, Berrios has played every skill position for Leesville Road and has been a starter since his freshman year.

"We plan on doing whatever we have to do to get Braxton enough touches," Smothers said. "We let him return kicks, he's been at free safety, we may play him at quarterback some, you might see him at H-[back], [and] you might see him at tailback. You might see him at three different [offensive] positions in one series or you may see him at one position for the entire game. It just depends on what we feel like we need to do."

As a freshman, Berrios recorded 55 tackles and two interceptions at free safety. Offensively, he caught six passes for 137 yards and two scores, and scored two additional touchdowns on rushes.

With four games remaining in the 2011 season, Berrios became Leesville Road's starting quarterback when his brother went down with a torn ACL. He ended that season with 1,234 yards and 16 touchdowns on 132 rushes, 403 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-30 passing, and 546 yards and six scores on 26 receptions. He also accumulated 34 tackles, five interceptions, and two fumble recoveries on defense.


While visiting North Carolina for its spring game last April, North Carolina became the first school to offer Berrios a scholarship.

"It was exciting," Berrios said. "It was something I've been waiting for, working for, and I've been wondering if it's ever going to happen. They always say the first one is the biggest and is the hardest one to get. So it was really exciting when Coach [Larry] Fedora sat me down and told me I had it."

Five additional schools have offered Berrios – Duke, East Carolina, Maryland, Minnesota, and Wake Forest.

With his sights set on graduating in December of his senior year, Berrios plans to have made a verbal commitment within a year. UNC has emerged as an early leader for him.

"You can't say a school sticks out when you don't have an offer from them," Berrios said. "So at this point, UNC is sticking out. I like ECU – my brother is going there, so that's a little bit of a pull. But I'd say UNC is sticking out.

"[With UNC], I like the new coaching staff, to be honest. I like the new offensive scheme that they have. The campus is nice. There's nothing bad about UNC. The education is great. There's nothing it doesn't have going for it."

Among colleges, there isn't a general consensus on what position Berrios will play on the next level. Most schools, though, believe he'll be on the offensive side of the ball.

"A few have talked about defense, but all I've shown in-person [at camps] is offense," Berrios said. "I'll play wherever they want me."

Specifically, UNC is recruiting Berrios for the A-back position in its one-back spread offense.

"They said I'm the prototypical fit for that [position]," Berrios said.

Smothers agrees.

"I feel like Braxton's fit right now is probably going to be the slot/inside receiver where you can do different things with him," Smothers said. "You can jet sweep him, throw screens to him. He possesses the speed to be a vertical threat and the ability to take the top off a defense."

Besides UNC, Berrios has visited East Carolina, Ohio State, and South Carolina. He plans to return to East Carolina, where his brother is a preferred walk-on, South Carolina, and UNC for games this fall, as well as Clemson.

Extra Notes

In addition to his brother, Berrios has personal connections to several schools – he has friends, including his girlfriend at East Carolina; former teammates Bryan Ball, Brandon Pittman, and Josh Stanley play football for NC State; former teammates Pete and Ryan Mangum play football for UNC; close friend Matt James plays for Wake Forest; and former teammate Chris Hawthorne plays at Minnesota. "I have people to talk to if I need to," Berrios said… Growing up, Berrios was a Miami fan, because his father's side of the family is from South Florida.

Braxton Berrios Profile

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