Five-Star Has Strong Bond with UNC Staff

HAVELOCK, N.C. --- Keion Joyner has made limited recruiting trips since last football season. Instead, the five-star prospect from the 2016 class has kept in constant contact with college recruiters – three in particular.

John Chavis of LSU, Dan Disch of North Carolina, and Brad Lawing of Florida are the three coaches that Joyner, a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder from Havelock (N.C.), speaks to the most.

Joyner hasn’t eliminated any school from contention, but his relationship with that trio of coaches has allowed their respective programs to rise above the countless others that have offered him a scholarship.

“They’ve been the main schools that have been trying to recruit me a lot more than others,” Joyner said.

Specifically, Joyner has developed quite a bond with Disch.

“I think my strongest relationship among the coaches is with Coach Disch,” Joyner said. “He’s just a go-getter type of guy. He just loves to go after what he wants. And then he wants the best for his players, his team, and he just wants to coach you to be the best you can be.

“We talk a lot – like how my game is going and how they’re doing as a team. And we’ve talked about me coming to see more games [at UNC].”

Joyner has previously attended a couple of games at UNC, including last season’s “Zero Dark Thursday” against Miami. He will attempt to attend its regular season finale against NC State on Nov. 29.

“I just want to see what role I’ll play in the defense,” Joyner said. “I want to see how playing time will be.”

Joyner, who lines up anywhere from defensive end to linebacker to safety for Havelock, is being recruited to play bandit within UNC’s 4-2-5 defensive scheme. He had hoped to make an in-depth, in-person evaluation of that unique position while in attendance for the UNC-East Carolina game this past September, but without a primer from the Tar Heels’ staff prior to kickoff – the game was in Greenville – he was unsure which player(s) to focus on.

Speaking of the UNC-ECU game, that’s the only recruiting trip Joyner has made since July. Besides the UNC-NC State game in November, he hopes to work out a game visit to Florida. He’d also like to catch this weekend’s Tennessee-South Carolina bout in Columbia to see several former teammates play.

After the season, Joyner’s travel plans won’t be limited by his football season. Thus, he’s looking to make trips to LSU, UNC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Over the summer, Joyner made just two recruiting trips. He visited Florida and UNC.

Joyner plans to announce his collegiate decision during the Under Armour All-American Game. Don’t expect him to release an “official” favorite schools list prior to that point.

“To be honest, I’m just trying to keep everybody guessing,” Joyner said. “I’m just not even trying to tell my top schools. I’m just trying to keep an open mind towards every school.”

Joyner, who grew up in Louisiana, moved to Havelock in middle school. He says that state pride – toward Louisiana or North Carolina – won’t factor into his recruitment.

“I just really plan on trying to get a great education,” Joyner said. “I want football to be there, but I just want to get a great education to wherever I go.”

Joyner’s teammate, Kyran Bowman, verbally committed to UNC in March. Though the two are close, they aren’t necessarily a package deal.

“I’m my own person and I feel like this decision should be made on my own,” Joyner said. “Him being there is just another person to hang around and know I have someone I can communicate with not only as a teammate but as a friendship since we’ve been together for so long.”

Along that same line of thinking, Joyner won’t even rely on his parents when it comes to making his collegiate decision.

“I’m not even going to talk it over with my parents,” Joyner said. “This is going to be a ‘me’ type of deal. Basically, I just want to go to the schools and see where I feel comfortable and hang out with the players. I want the players to tell me what the coaches are like, what the school is like, what type of education they’re getting, [and] what they plan on doing after school – like what are the goals they’re trying to reach.”

In addition to being a five-star prospect, Joyner is Scout.com's No. 1 ranked outside linebacker and No. 2 recruit overall for the ‘16 class.



Keion Joyner

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