Considering the athleticism he displayed, Jaleel Laguins certainly deserved to be featured during Fedora’s Freak Show on Saturday.
Laguins, a four-star linebacker from Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee County, broad jumped an astounding 11-feet.
“It was right dead at 11 [feet],” Laguins said. “Usually I get high 10s. I’ve been dying to get to that 11 for a long time. When I finally hit it and I heard 11 come out of his mouth, I was excited. I knew I could do it, but the fact that I did it just made me feel better.”
That was preceded by an equally impressive 40-yard dash time. At 6-foot-2 and 216 pounds, Laguins clocked a 4.44-second time on the grass surface of Kenan Staduim.
“I was really surprised,” Laguins said. “I’ve run a 4.44 before, but usually I hit low 4.5s or high 4.4s. When I heard I ran a 4.44, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I didn’t know I was moving that fast.’ I was really excited.”
The positive impression was mutual. Once an afterthought, Laguins says that UNC “stands pretty strong” following Saturday’s visit.
“I can honestly say that going up there for this visit put them more on the map than they were before the visit,” Laguins said.
In mid-May, Laguins released a ranked top five schools list consisting of (in order) Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, and Florida. He plans to revise that listing later this summer. Whether UNC finds itself on the next version will depend on how future camps/visits go.
Laguins doesn’t have his entire summer mapped out yet, but he knows he’ll definitely visit Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Besides UNC, Laguins has tripped to Auburn, Georgia, and NC State this summer. The NCSU visit, which occurred Friday, was efficiently grouped together with his Freak Show stay.
“I heard some good stuff about North Carolina and I just wanted to really make it up there and see it for my own self,” Laguins said.
When UNC assistant coach Charlton Warren extended a Freak Show invite, Laguins RSVP’d.
“He just said, ‘We have a Freak Show camp on the 20 and we’d really enjoy having you up there,’” Laguins said. “He said, ‘We’re going to have our top recruits there.’ So I knew there was going to be some stiff competition there.
“I just really want to compete, so when I heard ‘camp’ and that a lot of good players were going to be there, I was sold right then and there.”
The Freak Show was the first camp Laguins has attended this summer. However, he did camp at several schools last summer.
“[The Freak Show] was just a different atmosphere than a normal camp,” Laguins said.
Throughout the Freak Show, Laguins was coached by John Papuchis, UNC’s linebackers coach. Laguins describes Papuchis as a very intense coach – a quality he desires in his position coach.
“I feel like sometimes I feed off my coach,” Laguins said. “If I see my coach not doing well, I’m not going to be feeling well. But he definitely got me fired up.”
In a twist, the Freak Show concluded with a dodge ball tournament.
“I thought, ’What is going on here?’” Laguins said with a laugh. “It kind of surprised me.
“I didn’t do too well – the broad jump didn’t help me. At the end, I was the last one in there and they had their whole team. So I was like, ‘Well, we had a good run at it guys.’”
Before the actual start of the Freak Show, Laguins ate barbeque with other early arriving recruits and then met with Larry Fedora.
“He wants me to come back for a game this fall, which I think I will be doing that,” Laguins said. “He just talked to me about what he expects from his players. He was trying to build a relationship, really.”
Visit Puts UNC On Map for Freak Athlete
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