Dinkins: 'That's Where I Want To Play'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Robert Dinkins, a 2014 prospect from Olympic High School, admits that he rushed into his decision to verbally commit to North Carolina.

"When I got the offer from Carolina, I thought it was more of a security type thing," Dinkins said. "I just wanted to feel as if I had a school that wanted me.

"But weeks went by and I guess I just kind of fell in love with the school. Now, there's no doubt in my mind that's where I want to play."

Further complicating the situation for Dinkins, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, was when childhood favorite Clemson offered him a scholarship.

"When I went to the [Clemson] camp, I'm not going to say that coaching staff weren't loving, but at Carolina the atmosphere was just different," Dinkins said. "The [UNC] coaches were all introducing themselves, asking me questions, and just acting like they really wanted me there. Pushing me and watching me – I just really liked that at the camp."

In particular, the first impression Larry Fedora made on Dinkins was lasting.

"I didn't even really know Coach Fedora and he knew me and embraced me," Dinkins said. "That really stood out as something I wanted to be a part of."

Clemson is unlikely to be the last school that offers Dinkins. According to Olympic head coach Barry Shuford, Alabama, LSU, and UCLA are among the schools that have already inquired about Dinkins.

"I'm sure there are going to be some offers that are going to make me think," Dinkins said. "But ultimately, I think Carolina is where I belong."

Dinkins plans to be a regular visitor to UNC this fall.

"My dad is a huge Carolina fan, so in my house there's nothing but Carolina stuff everywhere," Dinkins said. "So every chance we get, we'll be there."

No one has discussed positions with Dinkins, but at UNC's camp he worked out exclusively with the defensive linemen. Shuford believes D-end is Dinkins' best position.

"I think he's going to top out at 270 [pounds]," Shuford said. "I don't think he'll ever reach 300 so that he could play inside. And I don't think he could be moved out to linebacker."

Dinkins became a varsity starter as a freshman at Vance High School playing both fullback and defensive end. When his family moved to south Charlotte following the football season, he transferred into Olympic where he focused exclusively on defensive end.

"I played with a lot of seniors and those guys took me under their wing, so it made it a lot easier to adapt to the situation," Dinkins said.

Dinkins ended that season with 39 tackles and nine sacks.

"Robert has tremendous potential," Shuford said. "He is very quick. His motor runs all the time. He's a hard hitter. He loves to rush the quarterback – that's his deal. We're trying to get him to work on the other parts of his game. Sometimes his motor works against him – he gets too far up the field and gets trapped. He is a very aggressive player. He has all the tools."

"I definitely feel like the pressure is on me this coming season, because I'm a junior with offers," Dinkins said. "Right now, it's really kind of new to me, because I've always been the underdog."

Off the football field, Dinkins wrestles in the heavyweight division for Olympic. As a sophomore, he made it to the NCHSAA 4A State tournament losing in the semifinals.

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