CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- North Carolina is still organizing its 2017 quarterback recruiting board. A dark horse in the race is the green Kingsley Ifedi, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder from Vance who recently visited Chapel Hill.
“He’s definitely a dual threat guy,” Vance head coach Aaron Brand said. “He’s a tough runner when he wants to be, but he likes to sit back there and throw it.
“If there’s one really good thing about him right now, besides his arm strength and his size, is his pocket awareness. He has got great pocket awareness at such a young age – it’s almost video game-ish the way he can elude the rush [and] the way he can slide in the pocket and still have his eyes downfield looking to make a throw.
“He’s got all the physical attributes in the world, but he has a lot of improving. The coaching part with him isn’t even nearly over. He’s getting to be tough. He’s the youngest of four kids, so obviously he’s the one that has been babied. I’m definitely not the type to baby him. I’m hard on Kingsley and I’m going to continue to be hard on Kingsley, because I think he needs to be a little bit more assertive. I think he needs to control his body language on the field – it should always be positive and no one should know if he’s having a great or off night. He’s started to assume more leadership. I actually made him a captain last week.”
Ifedi is in his first season as Vance’s starting quarterback.
“He’s had to grow up quick in this system,” Ifedi said. “He only has six games under his belt, but he has good people around him.”
Through those six games, Ifedi has surpassed 1,800 yards passing and tossed 15 touchdowns and ran for seven more. More importantly, Vance is 4-2.
North Carolina and Virginia Tech are the two schools that have expressed the most interest in Ifedi. But, Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan State, Purdue, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Virginia have also inquired.
“Kingsley is going to get his choice,” Brand said. “He’s going to be able to pick wherever he wants to go. He’s going to be that good by the time I’m done with him.”
Keith Heckendorf, UNC’s quarterbacks coach, attended a Vance spring practice. Usually, though, Gunter Brewer’s face is what Ifedi has seen during evaluation periods.
Ifedi returned the favor in September when he attended UNC’s home-opening victory over North Carolina A&T. It was his first recruiting trip.
“I liked the school pride,” Ifedi said. “I liked how the Tar Heel fans, even though it was raining, showed up. It was a pretty good game. I got to see Marquise Williams play – I admire him.”
Due to his late arrival, Ifedi wasn’t able to speak with the UNC coaches. He plans to return for a later game – and arrive much earlier – so that he can meet the entire staff.
Ifedi also attended the East Carolina-Virginia Tech game.
Although he’s hesitant to name favorites, one school certainly has Ifedi’s attention.
“I’m still evaluating my options – by God’s grace if I get options,” Ifedi said. “But, I like UNC. Ever since I was a little boy I’ve liked UNC basketball and football – especially when they play Duke, I always pulled for UNC. I don’t like Duke.”
Ifedi’s older brother, Casey, was a walk-on linebacker at East Carolina. A second brother is currently enrolled at graduate school at ECU… Ifedi holds a 4.0 GPA… During his freshman and sophomore years, Ifedi played basketball for Vance, but he has decided to give up the sport to focus on football… During Marquise Williams’s senior season, Brand was his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.