UNC in Carney's Top Two

Approximately 72 hours after his teammate verbally committed to North Carolina, Malik Carney has begun to favor two schools and could make a verbal commitment very soon.

"My top two are UNC and Tennessee," Carney said. "Those two are above the rest as of right now. I like their programs. I like how they run things and their schemes and how I fit into their defenses. And I can actually see myself living there for four or five years."

Both schools have offered Carney, 6-foot-2, 208-pound linebacker from Alexandria (Va.) Williams, a scholarship, plus 11 others, including Connecticut and Pittsburgh.

Carney says he'd like to make a verbal commitment within a week. The timing of his impeding decision is a combination of leaning towards one of his top two while being ready to end the recruiting process.

"I just have to keep doing my homework on the two schools," Carney said. "I'm just going to go with my gut. If I wake up and feel like, ‘This is the school' then I'm just going to make the decision that day."

UNC began seriously recruiting Carney during the Spring Evaluation Period. However, it wasn't until that period ended that the Tar Heels – among many other schools – decided to actually offer.

"[UNC] told my coaches and then I had to call Coach [Walt] Bell," Carney said. "He said they like my size, my arm length, and how I can cover and also stop the run. He said they also like how aggressive I am on tape."

Bell hasn't told Carney exactly how he fits into UNC's 4-2-5 defense. Carney became a starter at outside linebacker for T.C. Williams this past season.

"We scheme according to who we play," Carney said. "So I could be like a D-end or drop back into a safety. I could be like a rush end type. But mostly I cover the slots and play my linebacker position."

Since UNC amped up its pursuit of Carney, his contact with Bell has steadily increased.

"We're really close," Carney said. "We talk pretty often – about every other day we talk.

"He tells me about what they have to offer down at UNC and what kind of program they have."

In early May, Carney accompanied Clarke to UNC for his first and only visit to Chapel Hill.

"It was great," Carney said. "I liked the campus. It was more than what I expected, actually. They had some good things like how they ran the program, their nutrition bar, how they take care of their guys. It's a good program. I really like it."

T.C. Williams has traditionally been a part of UNC's "Beast of the Hill" Seven-on-Seven Passing Tournament. Carney has never joined his teammates at the camp, but plans to be a part of the group this July.

Besides UNC, Carney has attended a recent Tennessee camp and has also visited NC State. He has no forthcoming recruiting visits planned.

Carney says Clarke's commitment to UNC won't affect his decision. But if he ends up also committing to the Tar Heels, it's an added bonus.

"I'm making my decision for me," Carney said. "I don't want to go to a school just because a friend goes to that school and then I end up not liking it. At the end of the day, I have to be at the school for four-five years.

"But if I did end up choosing UNC, it would be because I felt it was the best fit for me overall. And it would be cool to go to school with a friend."

Clarke is serving as both a recruiter and adviser to Carney.

"Yea, he wants me to go there with him, because he thinks it would be fun," Carney said. "But he still just gives me advice and will support me in whatever decision I will make."

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