Charlotte, N.C. --- Although he literally could have walked to North Carolina’s scrimmage on Saturday, Christian Colon would have driven several hours for the opportunity to evaluate Tray Scott, UNC’s new defensive line coach.
“Carolina is still my No. 1 in-state option, so with them I’ve got to get to know Coach Scott,” the 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive tackle from Charlotte (N.C.) Independence said. “So [during the scrimmage] I’ve just been looking at him, watching him practice [individually with the D-line] over there in the corner, and how [the D-line] performs in the scrimmage.
“I like his style. I like how hands on he is.”
Colon’s objective was simplified given the proximity of Saturday’s scrimmage. Although it was the first time Rocky River High has played host, UNC has held a scrimmage in the Queen City every spring since Larry Fedora became head coach.
“Charlotte basically is the football powerhouse of North Carolina,” Colon said. “Basically, every year the state championship comes through Charlotte… It gives a chance for the younger players that aren’t getting recruited by North Carolina to look and see what they have to offer, as well.”
Colon intends to make a closer examination of Scott this summer.
“I’ve got to work a camp with Coach Scott to see if I like him hands on,” Colon said.
Last summer, Colon camped at UNC twice. The first time ended prematurely when he suffered a minor injury. He returned a month later and earned a scholarship offer.
While on vacation last week for spring break, Colon received Scott’s phone number from Gunter Brewer, who handles Colon’s recruitment for UNC, to assist in relationship building. Colon has yet to call Scott, but the two spoke briefly on Saturday when Colon phoned Brewer prior to the scrimmage.
“[Scott] is real cool,” Colon said. “He talked about how they basically need me and how I’m an in-state recruit so he has to stay on me hard. He said it starts and ends with me. I’m basically the domino that starts everything.”
During the same phone conversation, Colon had a short conversation with Gene Chizik, UNC’s defensive coordinator.
“He’s been talking about how he has big plans for me and how I’m going to have playing time if I decide I want to come to Carolina,” Colon said. “That’s big. Oh, that’s big. I’m going to come out with my top six soon, but right not they’re my No. 1 in-state option.”
Colon plans to release his top six schools list this summer. Sixteen schools have offered him a scholarship -- Boston College, Charlotte, Louisville, Marshall, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. Meanwhile, schools like Alabama, LSU, Maryland, Penn State, Tennessee, and UCLA have discussed the possibility of joining the fray.
Considering its position as his clear No. 1 in-state school, UNC has a great chance of making the cut.
“It’s just the personality of the coaching staff,” Colon said. “… Chapel Hill, it just felt like home in my home state. My mom could come to all my games if she wants to.”
Colon plans to announce his college destination on senior night when Independence hosts rival Matthew (N.C.) Butler.