Summers Staying Focused

CHATHAM, Va. --- North Carolina pledge James Summers has led Hargrave Military Academy to a 5-2 record heading into its season finale. More importantly, though, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound quarterback is focused on making academic progress.

"School is going pretty good – with my tests and with my academics," Summers said. "I won't know how close I am to becoming qualified until I get my test scores back in about two weeks, but I had a great first semester [in the classroom]."

Summers, is attending Hargrave after failing to qualify out of Greensboro (N.C.) Page High School, recently took both the ACT and SAT. He'll retake the tests again in December.

The plan is for Summers to be deemed academically qualified by the NCAA Clearinghouse in time to enroll at UNC in January. If that doesn't happen, he'll remain at Hargrave for the winter semester.

"I'm working hard so that I can get up out of here – point blank," Summers said. "There's a lot of discipline and there's a lot of things you have to do. It's as simple as getting up at a certain time, not being late for class, not being late for routine formations that happens every day, and you have chapel. You are accountable for a lot of responsibilities, but they aren't big responsibilities, they're just little things that keep you focused to get you to college.

"If you don't do what you're supposed to, you get in trouble. And it's not dependent on one person – it's the whole team. If one person gets in trouble, the whole team gets in trouble. So there's a lot of depending on each other – just like on the field. "

While the experience has been difficult, Summers sees the life lessons he's obtaining.

"My study habits have improved, what I do with my time – even when I go home," Summers said. "It helps me stay focused."

During one of his weekend trips home, Summers and his family attended the UNC-East Carolina game in Chapel Hill.

"I've been to plenty of UNC games," Summers said. "I could see the difference in the energy the team and the coaches have on the field. Coach [Larry] Fedora has a passion for football and it shows in the way he coaches and it reflects on the team. He's very verbal and he keeps the guys going himself and he gets the team going himself."

Throughout the recruiting process, Summers heard a lot about Fedora's spread offense. But during the UNC-ECU game he got to see it in person.

"I liked it a lot," Summers said. "It spreads the field out and gets everyone involved. I like to spread the ball out – that's what I'm best at and that's when I'm most accurate."

During a weekly phone call, Summers and fellow Hargrave teammate and UNC pledge Monte Taylor speak to most of the UNC coaching staff.

"They're just giving me words of encouragement," Summers said. "They say they can't wait for me to get there and tell me to keep going hard in the books."

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