UNC Football Class of 2016 Signee: DB James Pierre

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

BIO: Sun Sentinel All-County honorable mention as a senior • Posted 48 tackles, four interceptions and two pass deflections as a senior • Also had four punt returns for 79 yards and a touchdown • Led Deerfield Beach to a 10-2 mark and a spot in the regional semifinals in the 8A state playoffs


RECRUITMENT: In mid-May, Pierre verbally committed to nearby Miami. That didn’t stop him from embarking on a lengthy summer camp tour, which included stops at Cincinnati, Florida, Kentucky, UNC, NC State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. The UNC visit made the biggest impression. Just as Al Golden’s seat started to get white hot, Pierre made the commitment switch to UNC.

WHY CAROLINA: “I felt like it was a better opportunity to hit the field faster. It was a nice place when I went down there. I loved the facilities. helmets, the jerseys – I loved it all. (UNC rising sophomore and Deerfield Beach alum) Jason (Strowbridge) and I are really close. I felt like following him. He just told me it was a good place to be [and] it’s very quiet.”

EVALUATION: Pierre is an emotional, energetic, ball-hawking defensive back who will likely settle in at safety but has enough man coverage skills and physicality to play nickel. He covers a lot of ground with his long strides and uses his wingspan to deflect passes or pull down INTs. As a tackler, he sacrifices his body and will make jarring hits.

HS COACH QUOTES: “James is just a very heady player and a student of the game. He has one of the highest football IQs that I’ve seen in the nine years I’ve been at Deerfield Beach. That allows him to make exceptional plays on the football field, because he’s able to diagnose plays and process information quickly. He studies hard at it and he’s a natural. He’s a long, lengthy safety with great range and he just has great football instincts. He reminds me of a longer Ed Reed. Ed was one of the smartest football players, he wasn’t the biggest, he wasn’t the fastest, but he was the smartest and was always in position. James needs to get stronger and bigger, but he has a high ceiling.” — Jevon Glenn, Deerfield HS

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: Pulling a major prospect out of south Florida is no easy task. But, James Pierre left the door open for such an opportunity and a tag team recruiting effort allowed UNC to walk on through. … Read the full subscriber-only report

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