Signee Update: Malik Carney

At the urging of his high school football staff, North Carolina signee Malik Carney joined Alexandria (Va.) T.C. Williams's track and field team this spring.

"My coaches were saying just come out for track to get a workout and conditioning in," Carney said. "I came out to practice one time to see how it was and I just stuck with it. I like it because I would just be working out but this allows me to be a competitor."

Besides keeping him in shape while keeping his competitive juices flowing, Carney, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker, has been an impactful addition to the team. For the VHSL Group 6A Conference 7 Championship, he qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as did his 4x100 relay team. He has also qualified for the VHSL Group 6A North Region Meet in the 100-meter dash.

In the VHSL Group 6A Conference 7 Championship last Tuesday, Carney clocked times of 11.43 and 22.32 seconds in the 100 and 200, respectively. Meanwhile, the 4x100 relay team finished second. He'll compete in the regional meet on Thursday.

Track hasn't impeded Carney's ability to follow the workout regimen that UNC sends each of its signees.

"When I first started, it was pretty tough, but I've adjusted," Carney said. "It's a quicker workout [than what I'm used to] but with more weights... It should help me with the transition from high school into college."

Through track and UNC's workout, Carney has noticed an improvement in his speed. His physical weight, though, has stayed at 210 pounds.

During the recruiting process, much of his contact with UNC was through Walt Bell. Bell's departure in late December proved to be a blessing in disguise as it forced Carney to establish a relationship with future position coach Ron West.

"We have a really good relationship," Carney said. "We talk pretty much every other day or whenever we get to."

West has not mentioned red-shirting to Carney. Instead, West has talked about using Carney on special teams and competing for a spot on defense.

"He has said that Cayson Collins and I are interchangeable," Carney said. "So I could be playing the Will or Bandit."

This past season for T.C. Williams, Collins lined up at defensive end, middle linebacker, and outside linebacker. Thus, he welcomes playing a hybrid position like Bandit.

"I think I'm suited for any position, to be honest," Carney said. "But I'm just working on getting on the field and just playing."

"I want to go to a single digit number this year," Carney said. "All the other numbers were taken [on defense] or they would conflict with an offensive player's number who plays special teams."

Carney said he is unsure of his qualifying status. He is signed up for the SAT on June 7 and ACT on June 14, but isn't certain he'll need to actually take either.

If everything goes as planned academically, Carney will arrive on campus on June 16 for orientation. He'll be sharing a suite with Josh Cabrera, Cayson Collins, and Robert Dinkins.

Carney plans to major in sports marketing in college.

"Even if I don't go to the next level beyond college, I just want to be around the game," Carney said. "It's just something I love doing. I don't want to do something I don't want to do and be miserable. I want to do something I love and I love the game of football."

Malik Carney Profile

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