Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

UNC Standing Out to DT Marlon Dunlap

A helicopter visit is the latest move to separate UNC from the pack for Dunlap.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- North Carolina has emerged as the clear cut leader for Marlon Dunlap.

“Carolina has really been the one that stands out above everybody these last couple of months,” Dunlap said. “They’re great. They’re great people down there. They know I love them and I know they love me back. They’re starting to separate from everybody.”

Dunlap’s scholarship offer list includes Charlotte, East Carolina, Louisville, UNC, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The coaching staff, says the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive tackle from West Charlotte, is the prime culprit for the separation.

“The coaches love me,” Dunlap said. “As far as recruiting, they don’t talk to me just as a recruit. They talk to me as a person and as a kid. And they try to help me do all that I need to do. And I love that about them. There’s no other college that has done that for me.”

Also, no other college has sent a helicopter carrying its head coach to one of Dunlap’s games. UNC did just that for West Charlotte's homecoming game on Friday.

“I have never had anything like that happen,” Dunlap said. “I have never had anyone come in on a helicopter before my game. That shows that they really want me a lot. It’s like people said, ‘It’s not about the girl you love, but about the girl who loves you.’”

West Charlotte unfortunately lost the game, 48-0, to crosstown rival Vance. Dunlap doesn’t blame the distraction of the helicopter for the rout.

“I was a little nervous as well as excited,” Dunlap said. “But, I was able to tune it out eventually when the game got started.”

Gunter Brewer, who accompanied Larry Fedora on Friday, is the UNC coach that has led the charge in recruiting Dunlap.

“I have a great relationship with Coach Brew,” Dunlap said. “Coach Brew is a great coach. It’s just like I’ve known the man all my life and I haven’t even been coached by him yet. But as a person, he’s a great person. He helps us out and he’s just a great person.”

At the very least, UNC has been among Dunlap’s favorite schools from the jump – and most of the time, it has been his leader. As such, he has begun contemplating a verbal commitment.

“My dad and I were just talking about [committing] the other night,” Dunlap said. “We’re still going to be talking about it, but it might be coming in the next couple of weeks. We just have to see, because it’s getting close to that time. We’re just going to keep on talking about it until we come down to a conclusion.”

While they continue to talk, Dunlap will look to take a couple game visits. Tentatively, he’s scheduled to officially visit UNC the weekend of Nov. 14 for the Miami game.

“I want to be around the team and the environment and see what the environment is like on game day,” Dunlap said. “I want to see what the coaches do on game day and see how everything goes on game day. That’s the only thing that I haven’t been able to see yet.”

As recent as a month ago, Tennessee posed the greatest threat to UNC’s chances of landing Dunlap. However, the Volunteers have been fading as of late.

“[Tennessee] is still in the picture, but we haven’t had a lot of contact,” Dunlap said.

Coinciding with Tennessee’s fall is East Carolina’s rise.

“I know that East Carolina loves me down there,” Dunlap said. “I’m going to try to get down there and see what they’re talking about, also.”

Dunlap has yet to visit East Carolina. He doesn’t have a trip scheduled, but he’s considering attending the Pirates game against South Florida on Nov. 7.

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