UNC Football Class of 2016 Signee: OL Luke Elder

Inside Carolina takes a closer look at the Tar Heel signee.

BIO: Team MVP • Earned all-state and all-region honors • PrepStar All-Southeast Region • Had a strong showing in the Rivals Camp Series in Atlanta

LEAD UNC RECRUITER: Chris Kapilovic

RECRUITMENT: During his junior year, Elder made three visits to UNC. Although he liked the school, proximity to home was an obstacle. Over time – and aided by countless visits throughout the southeast – that obstacle weakened and UNC made his finalists list, along with Georgia Tech and South Carolina. In early June he narrowed his focus to UNC and South Carolina. After visiting both schools early that month, he returned to Chapel Hill where he verbally committed during the “Who’s Next?” portion of Fedora’s Freak Show.

WHY CAROLINA: "Just getting out here, seeing everybody, hanging out with the players. That was the biggest thing I wanted to do, see how much of a fit I was with them. I just felt like it was a really good place for me. It felt like me. It felt like a place that I belong. I’ve been having that gut feeling for a while and fighting it just to make sure it’s the right one. … I’ve known Coach Kap probably longer than any other coach in this whole recruiting process. From the get-go, he always showed love to me. They were always a little slower to throw an offer out there, which I didn’t like at the time but now know they really wanted to mean it when they offered. I was really excited when they offered. As things got crazier and crazier, I sort of forgot about him, but Coach Kap was very determined – really determined, at the end especially, to get me. I was really loving how much he liked me, how he coaches, the type of guy he is – all around a good coach."

EVALUATION: Elder is a mauling “swing” offensive lineman. He’ll likely primarily play guard, but also provides the versatility to slide outside to tackle if needed. He’s at his best when he’s able to pin his ears back and drive into a defender – which usually results in a pancake. However, he’s also athletic enough to lead the charge while pulling. In pass pro, he maintains a good stance, mirrors, and utilizes his length.

HS COACH QUOTES: “Luke is a perfect gentlemen first of all. He’s a hard worker, he’s dedicated and a very respectful young man. He believes in doing things the right away and being perfect in what he does. When he hurt his knee, most people would’ve sat to the side and barely showed up, but he never missed a day of practice. That shows what kind of person he is – a great teammate. He’s very aggressive and he finishes blocks. He’s a whistle-to-whistle guy and he’s a smart football player who is almost like a coach on the field. His dad is 7-foot and played basketball, so I think his frame can handle a lot more weight.” — Dialleo Burks, Lagrange HS

UNC OC/OL COACH CHRIS KAPILOVIC: "LaGrange is a blue color town that always has good football, tough kids who work hard - Luke is one of those guys. You know I first saw him and he had sort of this little baby face. I'm looking at him and saying 'this doesn't look like the guy I watched on film who was finishing blocks and playing hard.' But after you just got to be around him, you understood what a special kid he is. Tremendous student, 4.0 kid and great family - dad played college basketball and is almost 6-11, so Luke is 6-4 and change but eventually he may grow some more. Got to know the whole family, special kid. I feel really good about the program he's coming from."

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: In the days leading up to the Gamecock Showcase on June 13, the North Carolina staff feared their chance to land Luke Elder was in jeopardy. As it turned out, that visit to South Carolina significantly helped UNC more than it hurt… Read the full subscriber-only report


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