Dalton Plays In Front of Fedora

STATESVILLE, N.C. --- Larry Fedora traveled by helicopter to attend West Forsyth’s convincing 35-12 victory over Statesville on Friday night which showcased several FBS prospects – most notably four-star defensive end Jalen Dalton.

“We couldn’t let it be a distraction to us, but I think it was a little bit for me,” Dalton said of the UNC head coach’s presence on the sidelines. “It was nice, but I let it affect the way I was playing. It would have been nice if I had a good performance while [Larry Fedora] was here. I know that I have to be able to play under [those situations], but it was a distraction. I was just thinking about it too much. I was just constantly trying to do my best and not focused on playing my game.”

In addition to Fedora, the spectators during the game included defensive line coaches Keith Gilmore (UNC) and Charley Wiles (Virginia Tech).

Dalton, a 6-foot-6, 240-pounder, compiled four tackles, two QB hurries, and a QB hit. But he played noticeably frustrated culminating in an after-whistle scuffle which forced the West Forsyth coaching staff to sit Dalton for portions of the third and fourth quarters.

Dalton’s first two Saturdays of the college football season were spent in Chapel Hill watching the Tar Heels defeat Liberty and San Diego State.

“They were both good experiences,” Dalton said. “The environment was good. Although they started off a little shaky in the first half, but they got it together in the second half.”

Born out of UNC’s shaky starts was the “Jalen Jinx.”

“Whenever they start doing bad or not doing as good, I have to tweet ‘They’re about to lose,’” Dalton said with a laugh. “Next thing you know, things changed.

“In the first game, they scored four touchdowns in four minutes. So I figured I try it in the second game and they caught the pick. The first time I wasn’t trying to do anything, but the second time I was trying to help them out and it worked.”

The most recent game, San Diego State, was UNC’s “Stripe Out,” where fans were asked to wear Carolina Blue or black based on their seating section. Dalton was impressed by the effects of the promo.

“It just shows that they’re willing to support a good, winning team,” Dalton said.

This past weekend, Dalton’s Saturday was free of college visits. Instead, he took the ACT on Saturday.

This Saturday, Dalton plans to travel to Blacksburg for the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game. That visit may be an official trip.

Beyond that, Dalton’s schedule is open, but he’s eyeing a return to UNC when the Tar Heels host fellow finalist Virginia Tech. That visit may also be an official trip.

In addition to UNC and Virginia Tech, Dalton is considering Miami. The Hurricanes are under consideration, even though Dalton has yet to visit the school. He says he speaks to its coaches daily.

Dalton also speaks almost daily to Gilmore.

“We’ve talked about football,” Dalton said. “Now, it’s just personal stuff.”

Although he doesn’t have a leader, Dalton has begun to consider when he’ll make a verbal commitment.

“I think I’ll probably decide after I get ACT scores,” Dalton said. “I think that takes two and a half weeks. I’ll probably just let the coaches know – I don’t want it to be too big.”

Friend and fellow four-star D-lineman Shy Tuttle will make a verbal commitment on Sept. 26. Dalton says they haven’t discussed the impending announcement.

“We’re just really trying to focus on the season and not talking as much,” Dalton said.

Although he is curious about Tuttle’s decision, Dalton says it won’t affect where he ends up choosing.

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