UNC Football Class of 2016 Signee: OL Jay-Jay McCargo

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

BIO: Earned a spot in the prestigious Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl • Earned first-team VISAA Division I all-state and All-WCAC honors as a senior at Bishop O’Connell • PrepStar All-Atlantic Region


RECRUITMENT: Midway through his junior season, McCargo landed roughly two dozen scholarship offers. After visiting countless schools within the Eastern and Central time zones, UNC, NC State, Penn State, and Tennessee emerged as favorites with the Tar Heels the undeniable leader. Heading into his fifth visit to Chapel Hill, he began contemplating a verbal commitment – and that’s exactly what he did once on campus.

WHY CAROLINA: “As a student, I want to be a teacher. I like the way they let you go about that at Carolina. I’m probably going to red-shirt, because I’m a lineman, so I’ll be there for five years. I’ll leave with a master and a certificate in history. That really caught my parents’ eye and mine. From a football standpoint. I like the way the offense is. As a player, it really suits my abilities with moving in space – it’s not just firing off the ball. The coaches always treated my family really well when we went down there. Me, my father, and my mother all have the feeling that these are a great group of men and I’m going to be in good hands down there… I know [Kapilovic] really takes care of his players and really cares for them. I’ve heard that from other coaches in the ACC. I’ve actually heard good things from other coaches across the country. Carolina is just a really unique place and a place that’s going to do a lot for you as far as football and especially with education.”

EVALUATION: A versatile offensive lineman, McCargo is one of the few prospects who could legitimately play all five O-line positions. Exhibit A: after focusing on tackle for much of his prep career, he seamlessly moved to center where he snapped to a quarterback almost exclusive in the shotgun. The 6-foot-3, 306-pounder has long arms, tremendous flexibility, and uses his hands very well to keep defenders off his frame.

HS COACH QUOTES: “He’s a hard worker, who plays with great intensity. He’s a very athletic offensive lineman. Definitely, his best skill set is his pass blocking. [He has] great hands [and] a great feel of leverage. I see him as more of a tackle. I just think his feet are really good, his pass blocking is so good, and he has pretty good length that he’ll remain at tackle. He’s not 6-6, but I just think with his feet and athleticism that he could do really well on the edge. But I think more than anything else what separates him is his character. He’s very happy. He has a great smile. He’s really a joy to be around. He’s very coachable. And he’ll have a little bit of a mean streak on the football field, but off the football field you’ll never notice that.” — Colin Disch, Bishop O’Connell HS

UNC OC/OL COACH CHRIS KAPILOVIC: "McCargo is obviously a tremendous player and athlete but to me he was a perfect fit for us. He wasn't looking for a football factory, he had offers from everyone in the country. He wanted to go somewhere he felt comfortable, where he felt like he could better himself as not only as a football player but as a person and academically. So when we started recruiting him and really saw what he was looking for, I felt really good at our chances and we were able to get him down here enough times and show him what we were all about to where  this was the place he really wanted to be."

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: Rooting for the Tar Heels as a youth gave UNC a built in advantage recruiting McCargo. However, fandom alone wouldn’t guarantee a victory over recruiting powers Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Penn State, Tennessee, etc. … Read the full subscriber-only report

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