Newly Offered DB has UNC Ties

J.J. Givens's scholarship offer count has been growing rapidly - and that may continue after the defensive back's MVP performance at last weekend's Nike Opening Regional - but the recent addition of a Tar Heel offer had special meaning for his family.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Twitter set the stage for Jaqui (J.J.) Givens to land a North Carolina scholarship offer last month.

“I saw that Coach [Charlton] Warren started following me [on Twitter],” Givens said. “When I followed him back, he [direct messaged] me. He was like, ‘Hey what’s up?’ We were just talking, chatting, communicating. And then I asked, ‘What’s your number just so we can have each other’s information?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, can you give me a call at this time?’ I called him and he offered me.”

Givens, a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back from Mechanicsville (Va.) Atlee, has a couple of UNC connections, including a sister who recently graduated from the school.

“My dad is an avid North Carolina fan – football and basketball,” Givens said. “So I do have ties to North Carolina and I do consider them a contender.”

Thus the UNC offer was understandably special to Givens.

“The first thing I did was tell my dad,” Givens said. “I had a big smile on my face. It was just a blessing. Any offer is a blessing, but I’m glad it was from North Carolina.”

With the addition of South Carolina on Monday, Givens’s scholarship count has reached 22. Arizona State, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and West Virginia are some of the other schools to have offered him.

While lining up all over Atlee’s defensive backfield, Givens accumulated 32 tackles, 11 pass breakups, four interceptions, and a sack in 2014.

“[Warren] basically told me that I could fit into their system as a corner or safety, but they’re mainly going to use me as a cornerback,” Givens said. “They like my length and agility at corner. And I can come in and make an instant impact.”

That versatility was on display Saturday during the Nike Opening Regional. Givens beat out nearly 70 defensive backs to claim the event’s defensive back MVP.

“I feel like I came out here today and I just played to the best of my ability,” Givens said. “I felt like my overall performance spoke for itself. I felt like I deserved to be the defensive back MVP and I backed it up with my performance.”

Case in point: Given had four interceptions during one-on-one drills.

Givens has visited UNC as a fan, but never as a recruit. That’s tops on his agenda.

“Hopefully, I’ll do that during the summer time,” Givens said. “I definitely want to get to know the coaching staff better, because I feel like they have something great going on.

“Coach [Gene] Chizik, he just recently became the defensive coordinator there. I feel like they’re building something special there and I can come in, make an instant impact, and make something happen.”

Givens is also mulling summer trips to Clemson, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He has already traveled to Duke, East Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.

“Right now, I’m just kind of at the phase of me getting to know every coach, seeing what’s genuine, see what’s not, see what’s bullcrap, and just looking forward to establishing connections with these coaches,” Givens said.

If there was a leader for Givens, it would be Arizona State, a school he has yet to visit.

“It’s just everything about it,” Givens said. “I’ve liked them ever since I was kid. I have family that went to Arizona State. Ever since I was a kid I’ve just always wanted to go out there. [I like] the whole Sun Devil mantra.”

Inside Carolina Top Stories