Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

UNC Targeting Charlotte Kicker

UNC is hoping to add J.D. Dellinger to its kicking corps.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- North Carolina doesn’t plan to sign a kicker within the 2016 class. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t add to that position’s depth chart prior to the 2016 season. One of the Tar Heels’ top kicking targets: Jonathan “JD” Dellinger.

“They offered me a preferred walk-on [spot] a couple of weeks ago,” Dellinger said. “What they told me was, ‘Come, sit a year, and then potentially be the guy after one year and I’d earn a scholarship.’”

Dellinger, a 6-foot-2, 170-pounder, handles field goals, kickoffs, and punts for Charlotte Country Day. But he believes UNC is looking for him to compete in field goals and kickoffs.

In addition to UNC’s preferred walk-on offer, Dellinger has received a scholarship offer from Army and a preferred walk-on opportunity from Clemson. Also, Pittsburgh has hinted that it’s considering offering a scholarship.

“I’ve been talking to Pittsburgh,” Dellinger said. “They haven’t made up their mind with what they want to do, yet.”

Dellinger is favoring Clemson and UNC.

“Academically they’re both very good schools,” Dellinger said. “And football, they both have bigtime football – ACC football. There’s good tradition at both those schools. And that’s what I’m looking for – the best of both academics and football environment.”

Before the end of this football season, Dellinger hopes to make a verbal commitment. Prior to reaching that point, he plans to visit Army, Clemson, UNC, and Pittsburgh.
Last football season, Dellinger visited UNC for the football game against NC State. He returned in June for the Tar Heels’ specialists camp, which is guided by former UNC kicker Dan Orner, where he won the kickoff MVP.

“Dan Orner is a very good coach,” Dellinger said. “I really like his instruction a lot. And I think Coach [Jonathan] Rutledge feeds off of Dan, too.”

Rutledge, UNC’s special teams graduate assistant, has teamed with Gunter Brewer, who recruits Charlotte for the Tar Heels, to recruit Dellinger.

Dellinger works out with Orner privately.

“He just told me to make sure I visit all the schools before I make a decision,” Rutledge said. “And he advised me to make sure I could see myself going to that school separate from football. He wanted me to ask myself, ‘If I were to get hurt and couldn’t play football, could I still see myself going to that school.’”

Besides UNC, Dellinger camped at Clemson, Duke, Florida State, LSU, Pittsburgh, and Virginia this summer.

Last season, Dellinger converted 32-of-33 PATs and 13-of-18 field goals with a long of 57 yards. Additionally, 67-percent of his kickoffs were touchbacks.

During Saturday’s season opener, Dellinger converted both of his PAT attempts. He also averaged 46 yards on three punts and each of his kickoffs landed in the back of the end zone.

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