"He's an unbelievable athlete," Havelock head coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "His potential is off the charts. His weight room numbers improved tremendously from our last four-week period – he ran a 4.58 in the forty; squats over 400 pounds. He has long arms. He has a good nose for the football. He's come a long way since his freshman year."
Joyner has been a part of Havelock's varsity squad since his freshman season. Both campaigns ended with NCHSAA 3A Titles.
As a freshman, Joyner was a regular contributor at linebacker and even started a game.
Graduations permitted Joyner to start for Havelock as a sophomore. He finished the season with 108 tackles (27 solo), including 19 for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He also had two interceptions, seven pass breakups, forced seven fumbles, and blocked a field goal.
Fourteen schools have offered Joyner. Auburn, East Carolina, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, and Virginia highlight his allotment.
"LSU flew in to see him," Bryant said. "I think the reason that every school hasn't offered him is because every school hadn't eyeballed him yet. I think that once they see him and see his highlight tape, he's hard not to offer."
Bryant credits the massive amount of early attention to Joyner's potential.
"He's probably going to get up to 6-4, 6-5," Bryant said. "He's a baby – he hasn't even started shaving. He has grown so fast so quick that – as athletic as he is – I think he has a lot more room to grow athletically, as well."
Most schools are recruiting Joyner as a linebacker, though he's getting some looks at defensive end. UNC is in the former category.
UNC is among the schools recruiting Joyner the heaviest. Dan Disch is the assistant coach spearheading the effort.
"They really like him," Bryant said. "They really like him and both the Bowman brothers. I would love for our guys to go to in-state schools.
"Coach Disch does a great job recruiting. He's done the best job of recruiting our kids of any coach that has been at Carolina. He really does a great job."
Joyner confirmed Bryant's remarks saying he's developing a "closer" relationship with Disch, who recruits southeast NC for the Tar Heels. Disch's efforts led Joyner to visit UNC for its Thursday night game against Miami last fall, despite having practice that afternoon and a football game himself the following Friday.
"It was a good experience," Joyner said. "I liked seeing the atmosphere, just the fans, and seeing a close game."
Joyner and Disch are currently working on scheduling a return visit to Chapel Hill for this spring where Joyner will be able to see more of the campus.
Joyner has trips scheduled with LSU on March 27 and Auburn on April 3.
Besides UNC, Joyner has visited Auburn, NC State, and South Carolina.
Joyner doesn't claim any favorite schools.
"I'm just looking for a family type system," Joyner said.
Joyner grew up in Louisiana and moved to Havelock while in middle school… Outside of football, Joyner is a member of Havelock's basketball team, which reached the regional finals this past season. On the year, he averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks… Havelock has developed a pipeline to the FBS ranks. In particular, Joyner says he's closest to Derrell Scott, who signed with Tennessee in February.