“It means a lot,” Stepherson said. “It’s a great relief to my family knowing they don’t have to pay for college. It’s a great opportunity and I hope to take advantage of it.”
Sweet, who has been verbally committed to UNC since April, actually broke the news to his younger teammate. That led Stepherson to phone Dan Disch, who recruits the Jacksonville area for the Tar Heels.
“He said they liked my smoothness of when I catch the ball,” Stepherson said. “He said he liked my route running and patience.”
In addition to UNC, Stepherson has received significant interest from Missouri and Wake Forest.
Stepherson is second on First Coast - which is undefeated and heads into the FHSAA 8A playoffs as the No. 1 seed - in touchdown receptions with six. He has 20 total receptions for 408 yards.
Shortly after receiving the UNC offer, Stepherson accompanied Sweet during his UNC official visit as Sweet’s guest. Essentially, Stepherson received an unofficial official visit.
“They treated me just like him, so I felt like I was on the official,” Stepherson said. “I had a great time down there. I got filled in with the program and the school and the academics and everything. It was a great experience. I loved it.”
Just because he technically visited as Sweet’s guest didn’t mean that Stepherson simply shadowed his teammate. In fact, Stepherson had meetings with Gunter Brewer, UNC’s wide receivers coach, and Larry Fedora separate from Sweet.
“They both greeted me,” Stepherson said. “They both were nice people – but it seemed like they all were nice people in North Carolina. [Brewer] talked to me about the routes they run and how I’d fit into the offense.
“We run a spread offense [at First Coast] and the route concepts are very similar. [UNC] obviously is more advanced, but when you get down to it it’s the same.”
Stepherson hopes to attend games at both Missouri and Wake Forest by the end of the season. He also is looking forward to a return to UNC this spring.
“I always keep a bag packed for North Carolina,” Stepherson said.
Stepherson says he has a “very close” friendship with Sweet. That coupled with several other factors has UNC as his early leader.
“Being my first [offer], it’s probably always going to be my first love,” Stepherson said. “But I love the school. I’ve never seen anything like it. I love the city. I love that they keep up on our academics to make sure we keep our academics first. The program is similar to ours. I love the coaching staff. And I think I can be a factor there.”
Fla. Wideout Holds UNC Offer
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