Noah Turner is North Carolina’s best chance to pull its first prospect out of Illinois in recent memory. Shortly after visiting Chapel Hill in late March, the 6-foot-3, 237-pound tight end from Mundelein (Ill.) Carmel listed the Tar Heels as his leader.
“It was a new experience when I went up there,” Turner said. “I really didn’t expect them to offer me at all. It was an eye opener to me, because I’m used to all the Big 10 schools around here and they all have the same basic layout. When I went up there [to UNC] it kind of blew me away. And I loved it.”
UNC is one of 18 schools to have offered Turner. Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, NC State, Purdue, and Wake Forest are some of the other notable programs to have offered.
Turner’s Chapel Hill visit may have gotten the ball rolling towards UNC, but it was his developing relationship with Seth Littrell, the Tar Heels’ offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, since the visit that cemented UNC as his leader.
“Like I said [the visit] was different for me, but then getting to know Coach Littrell was big,” Turner said. “He’s awesome and he’s been a main reason there. I know he wants to use me and I like the way he uses the tight end. They really use their tight ends and that’s something that really caught my eye.
“You also have the academics at that school. And there’s something special at that school with Coach [Larry] Fedora. And also, they want me just as much as I want them.”
According to Turner, Littrell sees him playing an H-back role within UNC’s offense.
“They definitely want to see me at that hybrid position – being able to do both put my hand on the ground and split out,” Turner said. “From what I’ve picked up, they only want to take one [tight end] – maybe take two, but that would be rare.”
Turner has played tight end in a triple-option offense at Carmel. He ended his junior season with 13 receptions for 360 yards and five touchdowns.
“Being in the triple-option offense, I have the ability to block and catch the ball,” Turner said.
Prior to his late March visit to UNC, Turner had just a couple of conversations with the Tar Heels staff. He decided to drop by the campus out of convenience – his road trip to Maryland and NC State brought him close to Chapel Hill so he figured he’d take advantage of proximity.
“I didn’t really know that they had that much interest in me and that they were going to offer and they ended up doing that,” Turner said. “It was a surprise and it all happened real fast.”
By the end of June, Turner plans to announce an official list of final schools. In the meantime, he’ll continue visiting campuses. Notre Dame’s “Irish Invasion” camp is the only scheduled trip so far.
Turner “is sure” he’ll visit UNC again, but doesn’t have a return trip planned. He’s hopeful his next Chapel Hill stay will occur this summer.
“I really want to see the coaches coach,” Turner said. “[Littrell] said he really wanted me to get down there for a camp. I also want to get my mom down there to show her.”
During his previously UNC visit, Turner was accompanied by his father.
A summer return will be paramount to Turner’s recruitment since he plans to make a verbal commitment by the end of the summer – if not early August.
“I’m still taking my time with it and going with the flow,” Turner said.
It’s one thing to label a school your leader. It’s an entirely different ball game committing to a school that’s over 12 hours away from home.
“It will be hard on my mom, to be honest with you, with the distance” Turner said. “It would be a different experience for me, but I think I could get over it and have fun and play football.”
UNC Opened Turner’s Eyes
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