UNC Trending for Carney

North Carolina has prioritized Cade Carney. The A-back target - who recorded the top SPARQ rating at last weekend's Nike Opening Regional in Charlotte - says that high interest is mutual.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- In addition to being among the standouts of a stellar running back group, Cade Carney left the Nike Opening Regional on Saturday with the day’s SPARQ Rating Championship.

“It’s obviously a great honor,” Carney said. “There are a lot of athletes that came through these camps. It’s just a collaborative effort – there have been a lot of people that have helped me with my weight training, my speed training, and my head coaches working on football. So it’s a win for all of us.”

The first couple of hours of the Nike Opening Regional, which on Saturday was held at Mallard Creek High School, are reserved for its SPARQ combine. During that time, campers are tested in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, agility shuttle, and power ball toss. The results are thrown into a formula and adjusted based on the respective participant’s height and weight. The output is the SPARQ rating.

Carney’s 127.65 SPARQ rating was not only tops among a field of approximately 500 athletes – it was third nationally. After checking in at 5-foot-11 and 213 pounds, he recorded a 4.53-second electric-timed 40-yard dash, a 40.4-inch vertical jump, a 4.32-second agility shuttle, and a 40-foot power ball toss. His 40-yard dash time, vertical jump, and power ball toss registered in the 99th percentile in the nation.

“I had my goals and I went out and almost reached them,” Carney said. “The shuttle kind of held me back. Yeah, I felt pretty good. As soon as I heard my 40 time, I was pleased with it to be on these lasers.”

On the recruiting front, North Carolina has been trending for Carney, he says.

“More than ever since I’ve been able to get this relationship with Coach [Gunter] Brewer we’ve really kicked it off,” Carney said. “I feel much more like a high priority on their list. It’s definitely a realistic option. They want me as much as I’m serious about being recruited by them.”

Speaking of Brewer, last week he made an evaluation visit to Davidson (N.C.) Day School. Afterwards, Carney called him to chat.

“He’s invited me to come up and spend some time, hang out with some players, and get a feel for the place,” Carney said.

Also during the conversation, Brewer invited Carney to Fedora’s Freak Show, which he says he gladly accepted. In the meantime, though, he’s working on setting up the aforementioned return trip. He aims to have it scheduled for a date prior to the Freak Show.

“I’m hoping to get up there when it’s just me and I can spend some good time with guys like Austin Proehl and [Ryan] Switzer,” Carney said. “I just want to get a feel. Obviously, you want to know all you can about a college before you make the decision. I’m looking forward to getting up there and getting to see what it’s like as a student there. I’m obviously not going to class, but I want to see what it’s like as a citizen there.”

Proehl and Switzer weren’t mentioned by accident. They play the position Brewer is recruiting Carney for -- A-back.

“I love the position,” Carney said. “I think I’m tailor-made to play something like that, but more on the running back side than guys like Austin and Switzer. I’m excited to get on the whiteboard and see more about it.”

Despite his positive UNC remarks, Carney has restrained himself from naming favorite schools.

“I like Wake [Forest], I like Carolina, I like ECU – it’s still open, you know,” Carney said. “I’m just waiting to see whatever schools are coming by.”

During the summer, Carney plans to narrow his focus to a finite group of schools. He then looks to make a verbal commitment either just before the football season or halfway through it.

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