UNC Poised to Land 4-Star OL

Jay-Jay McCargo, a four-star offensive lineman and Scout.com's top-rated guard in the East, is getting ready to take his fifth recruiting visit to UNC and it could seal the deal.

ARLINGTON, Va. --- Jay-Jay McCargo has visited North Carolina four times previously. His upcoming fifth visit has the potential for some Carolina Blue fireworks.

“I feel pretty comfortable at Carolina and I’m pretty much wrapping up my recruitment at this point,” McCargo said. “I’m thinking I’m going to be a Tar Heel.

“This visit is just to talk to the athletic director, the team chaplain, Coach [Larry] Fedora, Coach Kap [Chris Kapilovic] and Coach [Seth] Littrell one more time. I’ll just [commit] in person.”

McCargo’s visit will take place on Saturday, April 25. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman from Bishop O’Connell and his parents will arrive in Chapel Hill on Friday and depart on Sunday morning. If everything goes as planned, UNC will add a Scout.com four-star prospect to its class and the East’s best offensive guard.

“As a student, I want to be a teacher,” McCargo said. “I like the way they let you go about that at Carolina. I’m probably going to red-shirt, because I’m a lineman, so I’ll be there for five years. I’ll leave with a master and a certificate in history. That really caught my parents’ eye and mine.

“From a football standpoint. I like the way the offense is. As a player, it really suits my abilities with moving in space – it’s not just firing off the ball.

“The coaches always treated my family really well when we went down there. Me, my father, and my mother all have the feeling that these are a great group of men and I’m going to be in good hands down there… I know [Kapilovic] really takes care of his players and really cares for them. I’ve heard that from other coaches in the ACC. I’ve actually heard good things from other coaches across the country.”

It also doesn’t hurt that McCargo is a UNC fan.

“I’ve always liked North Carolina since I was little,” McCargo said. “My father, he always rooted for them in basketball because of Dean Smith. And he also liked the football program – he liked them back when Mack Brown was the head coach. So I grew up watching Carolina games.”

McCargo first visited UNC as a freshman. At the time, the visit was strictly academic.

“I loved it,” McCargo said. “I immediately fell in love with it. I loved the area.”

Additionally, McCargo has taken family vacations in N.C. – typically in the Outer Banks.

“I love the state of North Carolina,” McCargo said. “The state of North Carolina has always felt like a second home to me.”

This past summer, McCargo made his first visit to UNC as an actual recruit. He attended a Tar Heel camp possessing just a Temple scholarship offer.

“Coach Kap liked the way I moved, liked the way I did in one-on-ones, [and] liked the way I competed,” McCargo said. “That got them really interested.”

After viewing McCargo’s early junior season film, Kapilovic invited McCargo back to UNC during the Tar Heels’ bye week. As luck would have it, Bishop O’Connell, which typically plays on Saturdays, was off that same weekend.

“He said, ‘Come down and we’ll have some good news for you,’” McCargo said. “So I went down and they offered me then.”

At that point, McCargo’s recruitment was beginning to blow up. He would eventually receive 22 scholarship offers. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Miami, NC State, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest were among the offering schools.

McCargo returned to UNC in March for the Tar Heels’ exclusive junior day. He and his parents arrived a couple of hours prior and hung out with Kapilovic, Littrell, and John Papuchis.

“They told me, ‘You want to go through the front entrance,’” McCargo said. “Right when we got in, there were two GAs dressed in Carolina Blue tuxedoes and they were asking us questions. And then there was loud music playing when we were registering. And then they brought us up in the elevator to the players’ lounge. Our parents were talking to each other and the recruits were talking to each other. We got to talk with some current players. It was a great experience.”

The evening ended with the UNC-Duke basketball game, McCargo’s first live Tar Heel basketball game.

“It was one of the best basketball experiences I’ve ever seen,” McCargo said. “We got to walk through the players’ tunnel up to our seats. It was very electric, especially the start. It was a great game. We got to see what the Carolina fans were like and they’re pretty passionate.”

If you exclude Virginia, McCargo has visited UNC more than any other school. The reason for the exception is his sister graduated from UVa and during her time on campus McCargo made countless visits.

In recent months, McCargo has been logging heavy mileage.

“I’ve been on the road every week since January [visiting colleges],” McCargo said with a laugh. “So I’ve really lost count with how many [visits I’ve taken].”

For the most part, McCargo’s travels were limited to the Eastern time zone – the farthest west he’s gone was Alabama. But he’s gone as far north as Boston College.

Penn State and Tennessee – and NC State to a lesser extent – are the only other schools that McCargo is considering outside of UNC. But, he doesn’t plan to visit any of them and truly the lone possible obstacle is the NCAA.

“The only thing that could keep me from going to North Carolina right now is the academic scandal,” McCargo said. “If that hit the football program, that would really make me take a step back and reevaluate my options. But beside from that, I’m going to be a Tar Heel.”

If all goes according to plan, in about a year Kaplivoic, UNC’s offensive line coach, will have an absolutely versatile lineman at his disposal.

“[Kapilovic] says he sees me anywhere,” McCargo said. “He says I’m vocal enough, I’m intelligent enough, I’m flexible enough to play center. I’ve played center before – I snapped out of the shotgun. So I’m comfortable there.

“I’ve played right tackle and left tackle, so I’m comfortable at tackle. [Kapilovic] says he thinks my arms are long enough and I obviously move well enough.

“And [Kapilovic] thinks I’m flexible enough to play guard, too. That’s probably the easier one of them all.

“[Kapilovic] says this helps me get on the field earlier and help the team overall.”

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