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 11 walk-ons that have joined the program for the 2013 season.

Thomas Blakely
A.C. Reynolds HS (Asheville, N.C.)
K, 6-2, 195 lbs.

Blakely ended his senior season by breaking or tying 14 Reynolds’s kicking records, including longest field goal (47 yards), most field goals made in a game (three), most field goals attempted in a game (four), most extra points made in a game (nine), most extra points attempted in a game (nine), most kickoff touchbacks in a game (eight), most kickoff touchbacks in a season (42), and highest average in a game (60.1 yards).

As a senior, Blakey converted 72 of 74 extra point attempts and nine field goals. For his accomplishments, he was named Associated Press All-State, Asheville Citizen-Times’ All-Western North Carolina, and All-Mountain Athletic Conference.


Corbin Daly
Ardrey Kell High School (Charlotte, N.C.)
P, 6-3, 190 lbs.

A U.S. Army All-American, Daly has the greatest chance of eventually earning a scholarship offer among the preferred walk-ons. By the same token, unless something unforeseen occurs it’s guaranteed that he’ll red-shirt the coming season. Since he was a recruited walk-on if/when he sees the field for UNC, NCAA rules will require Daly to be placed on scholarship.

Daly averaged 48 yards on 49 punts as a senior. Of those 49, he dropped 11 inside the 10-yard line and 23 inside the 20. He was named to the 2013 Associated Press All-State team.

Daly originally committed to Texas last summer, but de-committed the following fall. That de-commitment spawned interest from Clemson, UNC, and South Carolina, but Chapel Hill was the only school he ended up officially visiting.

Chris Sailer ranked Daly as the fourth best punter in the nation with a five-star rating.


Jalen Dickerson
Richlands HS (Richlands, N.C.)
DB, 5-11, 175 lbs.

As a senior, Dickerson was named All-Coastal Conference for his play at strong safety and wide receiver. He also played running back on junior varsity early in his career.

Dickerson also participated in indoor track for Richlands. He ran in the 55-, 300-, and 500-meter dashes, and was a part of the 4x400 relay team.


Dante DiMaggio
Cardinal Gibbons High School (Raleigh, N.C.)
ATH, 6-2, 200 lbs.

DiMaggio chose to walk-on at UNC over a scholarship offer from Rhode Island. He also received interest from Clemson, East Carolina, NC State, and Virginia.

Despite missing time nursing a “hand injury,” DiMaggio accumulated 1,237 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. Of his yards, 1,130 came on 66 receptions. Meanwhile, a dozen of his touchdowns were the result of catches.

In addition to starring at receiver, DiMaggio served as Cardinal Gibbons’s backup quarterback. In fact, as a junior, he completed 32-of-60 passes for 513 yards and two touchdowns during his junior season.

Besides football, DiMaggio was a member of Cardinal Gibbons’s basketball and track-and-field teams. He participated in the 100-meter dash (with a 12.34-second personal best time), high jump, and long jump.


Luke Holcomb
New Smyrna Beach High School (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.)
LB, 6-0, 220 lbs.

Holcomb accepted a preferred walk-on spot at UNC over a similar opportunity at Duke and a scholarship offer from Air Force. He also received interest from Wake Forest and several Ivy League schools.

While playing safety, Holcomb made 44 tackles and intercepted a pass during his senior season.


Thomas Jackson
Charlotte County Day School (Charlotte, N.C.)
WR, 5-11, 185 lbs.

After catching 29 passes for 490 and five touchdowns as a junior, Jackson pulled in 40 receptions for 533 yards and five scores during his senior season. He also scored nine touchdowns and amassed 563 yards on 21 rushes his last two seasons at Country Day. His accolades earned him Charlotte’s Gridiron Player of the Year

Jackson, who camped at UNC last summer, also played lacrosse at Country Day.


Kyle Murphy
Ardrey Kell High School (Charlotte, N.C.)
LS, 6-2, 225 lbs.

Chris Sailer ranked Murphy the 34th best long snapper in the nation. He also carried a 4.5-star rating.

Outside of UNC, Murphy fielded interest from Tennessee.

In addition to handling all long snapping duties, Murphy started at center on an offensive line that also included UNC verbal commitment Mason Veal and ’16 target Taleni Suhren.


Marlon Petty
Eastern Guilford High School (Gibsonville, N.C.)
LB, 6-0, 190 lbs.

Petty, a Morehead-Cain Scholarship winner, played linebacker and fullback as a senior, while also captaining the defense.

During his junior campaign, Petty compiled 86 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles.


Chris Ripberger
North Guilford HS (Greensboro, N.C.)
DB, 5-11, 190 lbs.

In addition to seeing significant reps at both running back and linebacker, Ripberger captained a 12-3 Northern squad. He concluded the 2013 season with 546 yards and 12 touchdowns on 88 carries, plus 24 receptions for 327 yards and four scores. Defensively, he registered 80 tackles, including 20 for a loss, a sack, and two interceptions.

During his junior season, Ripberger ran 67 times for 413 yards with five touchdowns. He also compiled 70 tackles and two interceptions on defense.


Jonathan Trull
Charlotte Christian School (Charlotte, N.C.)
OL, 6-4, 295 lbs.

Trull started on an offensive line that helped Christian win back-to-back NCISAA 11-Man, Division I Championships. In 2014, Christian also posted an unblemished 12-0 record.

During the summer heading into his senior year, Trull camped at UNC.

Besides UNC, Trull fielded interest from Appalachian State, Charlotte, Elon, and Furman.

Mark Uptegraff
Fork Union Military Academy (Fork Union, Va.)
OL, 6-2, 290 lbs.

Uptegraff, whose father played football at UNC, was named to the Private Schools’ All-State team as a senior.

In addition to UNC, NC State, Ohio State, Virginia, and Wake Forest recruited Uptegraff.


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