Up Close: Greg Webb

ERIAL, N.J. --- Greg Webb's commitment switch to North Carolina seemed like it occurred over the course of a couple of days. However, it was actually in the works for several months.

"The recruiting process is a wild thing," the 6-foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle said. "You just have to not let it consume you and sometimes I did. Being overly recruited gets overbearing sometimes. I was just battling that and trying to make the right decision for me and everybody around me -- not saying I was going to choose a school for them, but make sure we can all be comfortable with my decision. I think I tried to please that too much and find something too quick."

Those factors contributed to Webb's decision to make an early-April verbal commitment to Penn State.

"In hindsight, I could say [I rushed it]," Webb said. "But, I don't think Penn State was a bad decision – it was a great decision. Penn State is one of the best D-line schools in the nation. Coach [Larry] Johnson puts out talent. And for what I'm trying to do in college, it seemed like a great place to be.

"But the circumstances weren't great for me to come into. I want to have a clean mind when I come into my school [and] not worried about what's going to happen to me with sanctions."

About a month and a half after committing to Penn State, Webb began having second thoughts.

"I started to get weary headed about the whole situation," Webb said.

"I told him to continue to weigh factors," Timber Creek head coach Rob Hinson said. "'I know you're happy with your decision and there's no pressure from me to change your decision, but the recruiting process is just a living process so things could change all the time.' I just told him to keep an open mind."

With that approach, Webb kept the line of communication with UNC – specifically primary recruiter Dave Duggan -- open.

"[Duggan] said it was my choice basically: they'll keep recruiting me or I can tell them ‘No' and they'll back off," Webb said. "I said keep recruiting me."

Webb's second-guessing of his decision, coupled with UNC's persistence, led to a June visit to UNC while in the area visiting family.

Approximately a month later as Penn State's situation worsened, Webb visited Penn State in an attempt to reevaluate his commitment.

"When the Freeh Report came out, I just wanted to make sure that I wanted to [stick with Penn State]," Webb said. "I went up there one more time and I just felt like I couldn't be there. I just saw all this fire and just thought I had to move on."

It was at that point that Webb began to seriously consider other options with the goal of having his recruitment wrapped up by the end of the summer. He began discussing visits with several schools and started with a return trip to UNC.

"I didn't think I was going to commit – I just came out thinking I was going to have a nice trip," Webb said.

But that's just what Webb did on that visit – switch his commitment to UNC.

"North Carolina showed me a lot of things that I didn't see the first trip," Webb said. "I just fell in love with it – it wasn't like I had to rush my decision at all. And North Carolina was going to be my second choice [after Penn State], but now I see it should have been my first. It's so beautiful, it's the best place to be, and what I want to major in [communications] is the best place for my major. And then I want to be close to my family – and my whole family is in North Carolina. So I'll have a group to lean back on any time."

While Duggan spearheaded UNC's recruiting efforts, nearly every member of the Tar Heels' coaching staff was involved in Webb's recruitment.

"It was like a family thing almost," Webb said. "It was not just one coach that kept in contact – it was all the coaches. A lot of colleges don't do that."

Webb's commitment gave UNC's 2013 class exactly what it needed – a dominant defensive tackle.

"Greg is, on the high school level, completely unblockable," Hinson said. "He's so strong. He has a motor. He's a very smart football player, who just loves to play football. I just don't see him being handled one-on-one on the college level. He's a complete defensive lineman."

Due to his love for the game, this past week has been difficult for Webb. He has had to watch his team practice from the sidelines while finishing up the last part of his rehab. He suffered a torn ACL in wrestling practice last winter.

"We're not going to rush it," Webb said. "Right now, I'm able to do everything – I can run, jump, move sideways. My speed might not be where it was, but it's coming back. You can see it coming back."

Webb primarily plays three-technique (rush tackle) for Timber Creek, which went undefeated and won the NJSIAA South Group 3 Title in 2011, but has also lined up as a one-technique (nose tackle) and even a five-technique (defensive end). Hinson believes Webb could play either a three- or one-technique on the collegiate level.

"People have expressed concerns sometimes with him playing the three-tech' because he's 6-1 ½," Hinson said. "But he's so explosive. Wherever he plays, he's going to draw the double-team – he's that kind of player."

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