Walk-Ons Earn Scholarships

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Five North Carolina walk-ons have been granted scholarships for the 2012 season, a school official confirmed to InsideCarolina.com on Wednesday.

The recent scholarship additions increase UNC's overall scholarship total to 79 for the season. The NCAA's scholarship sanctions, which started with the 2012 recruiting class, limit North Carolina to 80 total counters through the 2014 season.

The five former walk-ons are senior Ram Pete Mangum, senior center/guard Peyton Jenest, junior deep snapper Parker Thomas, sophomore linebacker Tommy Heffernan and sophomore wide receiver Mark McNeill.

Mangum, hailing from Raleigh, N.C., also played on scholarship in 2011. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound defensive back posted 21 tackles last season and has played in 32 career games, including 26 straight. The 2011 Academic All-ACC selection has been a standout special teams player throughout his career, earning team MVP honors in that phase in 2010.

Jenest, out of Davidson, N.C., also played on scholarship in 2011. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman played in all 13 games last season, including taking 33 snaps at guard. He also earned snaps at defensive tackle and on special teams in 2010.

Thomas, a Winston-Salem, N.C. native, played baseball at UNC for one season before joining the football team in 2010. The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder is also listed as a reserve tight end.

Heffernan, hailing from Miami, Fla., also played on scholarship in 2011. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound inside linebacker red-shirted in 2010 after tearing the labrum in his shoulder and needing surgery during training camp. Heffernan left the team for a short period in 2010 while dealing with the tragic death of his best friend before returning to play in six games last season.

McNeill, out of West River, Md., played in nine games in 2011 on special teams and as a wide receiver. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder joined the football team in 2010 after enrolling at UNC to play lacrosse. The high school All-America played in all 16 lacrosse games in 2011 and totaled 10 points on seven goals and three assists.

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