CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Khalan Laborn has family ties to North Carolina, one of the many schools to offer him the past few months. However, the 2017 running back didn’t discover this fact until recently.
“On TV they said, ‘Marquise Williams with the touchdown pass,’” Laborn said. “My mom was like, ‘Marquise Williams? Khalan that’s your cousin.’ I was like, ‘For real, is he really my cousin?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah.’”
Williams – and UNC – was on Laborn’s television because his father is a Tar Heel fan.
When Laborn, a 5-foot-9, 195-pounder from Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes, visited UNC during his spring break, he and Williams met for the first time and went through their family tree to resolve how they are actually related. They surmised that Williams’s dad and Laborn’s mom are second-cousins.
Although Williams starred at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, he actually grew up in Shelby. Laborn, a military brat, twice lived in Shelby himself – most recently in middle school.
Laborn was born and raised in Norfolk, Va. After a stint in Japan, his family moved back and forth between Shelby and Virginia a couple of times until they settled in Virginia Beach when he was in the eighth grade.
Despite his father’s fandom, moving so much made it difficult for Laborn to develop an allegiance for one particular college football team.
“I was just a big fan of football,” Laborn said. “When I was little, really, I didn’t know you had to go through college to go to the NFL. When I realized that, I started looking into colleges. When I was looking into colleges, Reggie Bush was popping. So I was like, ‘I’m going to [wear] No. 5 and I’m going to try to go to USC.’ Reggie Bush still is my idol.”
While sporting No. 5 for Virginia Beach (Va.) Cox last season – he transferred to Ocean Lakes this offseason – Laborn amassed 1,087 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns.
Excelling in one of the more talented areas in the country helped Laborn collect 17 scholarship offers. Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss, UNC, NC State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Tennessee highlight his list of offers.
Besides the genealogy lesson, Laborn’s spring break UNC visit served as a quality introduction to the Tar Heels’ program. At the very least, it will prompt him to return to Chapel Hill in the near future.
“It was amazing,” Laborn said. “They have good academics [and] they produce good running backs at North Carolina.”
Also during his spring break, Laborn visited NC State. He has visited Rutgers and Virginia Tech, as well.
“I’m going to try to visit all the schools down south during the summer, so I can make it all in one trip,” Laborn said.
Laborn plans to make a verbal commitment on his birthday (June 1) next year. Sometime before that, he will narrow his focus to a more manageable number of schools.
“I’m going to make sure they have what I [plan to] major in, I’ve got to make sure I’m good with the coaches, I get along with the players, [and] I like the school,” Laborn said. “I’ve got to make sure all that’s in place.”
All that appears to be in place at UNC.
“Right now, Carolina is one of the top schools that I would pick,” Laborn said. “I know they have what I want to major in, which is sports medicine, and I get along with the coaches.”
Specifically, Laborn has developed a bond with Larry Porter, who not only recruits the Tidewater Area but also serves at UNC’s running backs coach. The two spoke when Porter offered a couple of months ago and then more in-depth during Laborn’s spring break visit.
“He said, ‘You and Giovani Bernard are similar, because ya’ll shifty, ya’ll have that crazy stiff arm, and you both can run downhill if you need to,’” Laborn said.
In addition to UNC, Laborn says Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, and Miami are sticking out.
UNC One of Laborn's Top Schools
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