Carney At Home At UNC

North Carolina pledge Malik Carney has made a few trips to Chapel Hill and even led his team to a 7-on-7 championship in Kenan Stadium. But it wasn't until this past Saturday that he saw an actual Tar Heel football game in Chapel Hill.

"I really liked how they came out and handled business," Carney said. "They've really been getting better these last few weeks. They're been working hard on and off the field and it shows with the turnaround."

After dropping five of its first six games, UNC has reeled off five straight victories, culminating in Saturday's 80-20 win over Old Dominion.

In addition to UNC's on-field accomplishments, Carney's goal Saturday was to take in Chapel Hill's atmosphere. That was obviously accomplished by attending the game, but the 6-foot-2, 208-pound linebacker from Alexandria (Va.) Williams also spent several hours afterwards walking around Franklin Street.

"I really like the atmosphere," Carney said. "I really feel like I'm at home. I can really feel the fans love and how much they really love the game of football. Just walking around the town of Chapel Hill, there were just Tar Heels everywhere. It was just Tar Heels all day nonstop."

Prior to Saturday's noon kickoff, Carney spent roughly 30 minutes with UNC coaches, namely Walt Bell, his primary recruiter, and Ron West, the Tar Heels' linebackers coach.

"They talked about what position I'd be playing, how things were going, and just looking forward to me getting down there next year," Carney said.

The UNC coaches project Carney to play WILL linebacker and advised him to watch Travis Hughes, the Tar Heels' current starting WILL linebacker.

"I feel I'd fit well into the defense, because the WILL linebacker takes advantage of my strengths," Carney said.

While playing linebacker for T.C. Williams this season, Carney tallied over 90 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two pass deflections.

More importantly, Carney, who also saw significant time at running back, helped T.C. Williams end a 22-year playoff drought.

"We had some goals before the season," Carney said. "One of our goals was to make the playoffs. And then we had further goals to not just make the playoffs, but to make noise in the playoffs, go far, and try to win a championship with the guys that we had on our team this year. It feels good to actually end that playoff drought, but at the end of the day we didn't accomplish all of our goals. But it still feels good to be a part of that team."

Carney, along with teammate and fellow UNC pledge Jeremiah Clarke, will be back in Chapel Hill on Saturday for the Tar Heels' grudge match with Duke.

"When I talked to a couple of fans last weekend – it really wasn't a packed game, but there were a lot of people there – they said this week's game is going to be really packed and I'm going to see the real atmosphere and the fans," Carney said. "I can't wait to see that."

Additionally, Carney is putting the finishing touches on officially visiting UNC the weekend of Jan. 18. It will be his lone official trip.

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