Meet the New Walk-Ons

The impact of walk-ons is mostly felt in practice, yet every year a select group make valuable in-game contributions. Inside Carolina is introducing 18 walk-ons that have joined the program for the 2013 season.

A "preferred walk-on" is a player assured a spot on the team and is assisted with their admission, but is not on scholarship.

Reid Baxter
Northwest Guilford HS (Greensboro, N.C.)
RB, 5-10, 170 lbs.

A three-time Piedmont-Triad 4A All-Conference selection and two-time News & Record All-Area first team pick, Baxter rushed for 3,377 yards and scored 60 total touchdowns during his prep career while lining up at every skill position on the field and handling return duties.

As a senior, the preferred walk-on rushed for 1,020 yards and 14 touchdowns on 121 carries, caught nine passes for 125 yards and a score, returned eight kickoffs for 245 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, he accumulated 83 tackles.

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Thomas Bernhardt
Cardinal Gibbons HS (Raleigh, N.C.)
OL, 6-3, 260 lbs.

A three-year starter, Bernhardt was named All-Carolina 6 Conference as a senior.

The preferred walk-on received all-conference honorable mention honors as a junior.

 

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Jackson Boyer
East Chapel Hill HS (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
WR, 6-3, 185 lbs.

After pulling in 98 catches for 1,056 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, Boyer caught 74 passes for 933 yards and six scores during the 2012 season. The two-time All-Pac 6 Conference selection, recorded the third most receptions in a single game in N.C. history when he made 18 catches in a game against Carrboro as a junior.

Boyer, who was coached by the father of UNC's starting quarterback Bryn Renner, turned down a scholarship opportunity from Air Force to accept a preferred walk-on spot at UNC.

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Blake Bozymski
Woodberry Forest School (Woodberry, Va.)
P, 6-1, 192 lbs.

Unlike most of the preferred walk-ons, Bozymski won't enroll until the fall semester.

The Winston-Salem native was named first-team VISAA All-State, first-team All-Prep League by the Richmond Times, and first-team All-Central Va. by the Charlottesville Daily Progress as a senior. On the season, he averaged 32.2 yards on 39 punts with a long of 54 and dropped seven of his boots inside the 20.

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Schuyler Coleman
Davidson Day School (Davidson, N.C.)
OL, 6-6, 335 lbs.

Following his senior season, Coleman was named to the Associated Press All-State Team and represented N.C. in the Private School Shrine Bowl where he played alongside UNC incoming freshman Desmond Lawrence.

Coleman spurned scholarship offers from several FCS schools to accept a preferred walk-on spot at UNC.

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Daniel Downing
Northern Guilford HS (Greensboro, N.C.)
DB, 6-0, 190 lbs.

Downing is transferring from Coastal Carolina, a FCS school, where he red-shirted during the 2012 season, his freshman year.

During his prep career, Downing teamed with incoming UNC freshman T.J. Logan to lead Northern to back-to-back NCHSAA 3AA titles in 2011 and 2010. Downing quarterbacked both aforementioned squads, posting a combined 28-3 record. As a senior, he was named to the Greensboro News & Record All-Area first team after completing 56-of-107 passes for 1,029 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushing for 1,029 yards and 11 scores. He concluded his junior campaign with 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns on 67-of-126 passing and 622 yards and 15 scores on 145 rushes.

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Justin Fieulleteau
Wakefield HS (Raleigh, N.C.)
DB, 5-11, 175 lbs.

Despite holding Division II offers, Fieulleteau enrolled at UNC as a preferred walk-on with his twin brother, Jordan, in January.

As a junior, Fieulleteau was mostly a third or fourth option in Wakefield's spread offense, but still managed 13 receptions for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He was moved to defensive back for his senior season.

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Dominique Green
Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.)
S, 5-11, 185 lbs.

After prepping the fall semester at Hargrave, Green enrolled at UNC as a preferred walk-on in January choosing the Tar Heels over a preferred walk-on offer from NC State. At one point during the recruiting process, he was verbally committed to Cincinnati and held a scholarship offer from Texas Tech.

Green spent his high school years in Laurinburg, N.C. where he helped Scotland High School win the NCHSAA 4AA State Championship in 2011 and a 15-0 record. In the state title game, he made two interceptions. For the entire season, he accumulated 102 tackles and seven interceptions on his way to all-conference honors. When he failed to qualify out of high school, Green enrolled at Hargrave.

After arriving in Chapel Hill in January, Green excelled in UNC's spring practice so much so that he earned a spot on the two-deep depth chart at strong safety entering fall camp.


James Harrison
Pinecrest HS (Southern Pines, N.C.)
DE, 6-2, 228 lbs.

After receiving All-Southeastern Conference Honorable Mention following his sophomore season, Harrison tore his ACL during the first game of his junior campaign.

Despite the lack of junior film, Harrison garnered interest from Duke, East Carolina, Minnesota, UNC, NC State, Tennessee, and Virginia, and collected offers from Eastern Michigan and Kent State. He passed on his offers to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity at UNC.

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Harris Hite
Middle Creek HS (Apex, N.C.)
OG, 6-6, 330 lbs.

Hite transferred into UNC last January from Campbell, a FCS school. While at Campbell, Hite red-shirted in 2011 and started at offensive tackle the following season.

During his prep career, Hite was named All-Conference as a senior and All-Conference honorable mention as a junior.

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Garrett Hudson
Heritage HS (Wake Forest, N.C.)
TE, 6-4, 202 lbs.

Hudson started at both wide receiver and defensive end during his prep career. As a junior, the preferred walk-on caught 20 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Hamstring injuries limited him to five receptions for 76 yards as a senior.

 

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Spencer Landfried
North Davidson HS (Lexington, N.C.)
K, 5-11, 180 lbs.

Chris Sailer ranks Landfried as the 107th best kicker in the nation and rated the walk-on a 4 ½ star recruit.

As a senior, Landfried received All-Davidson County and All-Central Piedmont Conference honors. On the season, he converted 71-of-72 extra point attempts (98.6-percent) and 18-of-23 (78.3-percent) with a long of 51 yards. Additionally, 53 of his 83 kickoffs were booted for touchbacks.

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McKinnon Martin
Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (Mooresboro, N.C.)
WR, 6-1, 185 lbs.

Originally, Martin had planned to accept an offer to play quarterback for Washington and Lee, a Division III school. However, a couple of days before Signing Day, he decided to accept admission at UNC strictly as a student. The UNC staff eventually offered him a walk-on spot, which he accepted.

The past two seasons, Martin played quarterback for TJCA where he was named Rutherford County Player of the Year as a senior. However, he played wide receiver during his freshman and sophomore seasons where he made 21 receptions for 265 yards and a touchdown.

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Will O'Briant
Asheboro HS (Asheboro, N.C.)
K, 6-0, 170 lbs.

O'Briant was ranked the 23rd best kicker in the nation by Chris Sailer and received a five-star rating.

A two-time All-Mid-Piedmont Conference and All-Randolph County, O'Briant was accepted into UNC based on academics and was grant a walk-on spot from the football staff. He finished high school with a 4.70 grade point average and was No. 2 in his class.

In addition to his all-conference and all-county honors, O'Briant was named All-Mid Atlantic Region as a senior. During that season, he converted 6-of-8 field goals and 22-of-26 PATs. His season long field goal conversion was 41 yards, but he hit a 59-yarder in a scrimmage.

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Kemmi Pettway
Garinger HS (Charlotte, N.C.)
DE, 6-3, 225 lbs.

Pettway earned All-Conference recognition as a senior while playing tight end, defensive end, and linebacker for Garinger. On the season, he accumulated 116 tackles (92 solo), six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in nine games.

After maintaining a 4.4 grade-point average, Pettway was granted admission as a student at UNC and was promised a walk-on spot by the football staff.


Collin Porter
Charlotte Catholic HS (Charlotte, N.C.)
OG, 6-4, 280 lbs.

As a senior, Porter was named to the All-Mecklenburg County Team. He played right tackle on an offensive line that averaged more than 370 yards of offense per game and had 5,500-plus yards for the season and 68 rushing touchdowns.

Porter accepted a preferred walk-on offer from UNC over opportunities from Columbia, Harvard, Richmond, and Yale.

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Justin St. Ogne
A.C. Reynolds HS (Asheville, N.C.)
LB, 5-9, 183 lbs.

The reigning Mountain Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, St. Onge was a four-year varsity player. Despite missing several games with a knee injury, he finished second on the team in tackles (105) as a senior and was named to the Citizen-Times All-WNC team for the third straight season. As a junior, he led Reynolds in tackles with 104, including 17 for a loss.

Although St. Onge has starred at linebacker, he has also played defensive back, running back, and Wildcat quarterback.

St. Onge accepted a preferred walk-on offer at UNC over several similar opportunities elsewhere.

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Michael Steinbacher
Jay M. Robinson HS (Concord, N.C.)
LB, 6-3, 215 lbs.

Despite missing portions of his junior year with a back injury, Steinbacher collected over 100 tackles and received all-conference recognition that season. Playing full time as a senior, he made 155 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and five fumble recoveries.

Steinbacher is also a well-regarded long snapper. Chris Rubio ranks him the 30th best long snapper in the nation and rated him a 3 ½ star recruit.

Steinbacher's father, Steve, and uncle, Rick, played at UNC.

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