CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Within the 2014 recruiting class, North Carolina signed Austin Proehl. The Tar Heels are now looking at his younger brother, Blake, a 6-foot-1, 160-pounder, as part of the 2017 class.
Although they play the same position at the same high school (i.e. Providence), Austin and Blake are different types of wide receivers. But, the brothers possess the same intangibles.
“With Blake you have a kid with great upside, particularly because of where he comes from,” Providence assistant coach Jonathan Castator said. “His dad, [Ricky], puts in a lot of extra work with him on the finer points of playing the receiver position. He has a brother playing at Chapel Hill – Austin invests a lot of time with him. He has a great support network.
“His work ethic speaks for itself in the weight room and the classroom.
“Austin didn’t really have the height of Ricky, so Austin has to utilize his speed and crisp route running and so he’s more of a slot receiver. Blake definitely has the height advantage and with that he has the larger hands and is more of an outside guy.”
After experiencing a growth spurt following his freshman year, Proehl became a varsity starter at wide receiver midway through his sophomore season.
As a junior, Proehl led the team in receiving by a larger margin. But, his actual receiving numbers (22 receptions for 336 yards and two touchdowns) were pedestrian since Providence employed a triple-option offense. As such, he actually had more yardage in special teams: 428 yards on 20 kick returns and 95 yards on 12 punt returns.
According to Proehl, Providence is switching to a pro-style spread offense this coming season, which should drastically raise his receiving numbers for his senior year.
Proehl has received scholarship offers from Charlotte and Georgia State. East Carolina, Florida Atlantic, Georgia Southern, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest have also expressed interest.
Specifically with UNC, Proehl has been in regular contact with Gunter Brewer, who recruited Austin to Chapel Hill and was a teammate of Proehl’s father at Wake Forest.
“[Brewer] has basically told me that he wants to get me to camp,” Proehl said. “And that’s what my brother had to do.”
After impressing in camp, Austin earned a UNC offer. He then went on to appear in 12 games as a true freshman and a dozen more this past season.
The younger Proehl would welcome the chance to play alongside his older brother.
“I think it would be awesome to play with him,” Proehl said. “I think it would be cool if I got to play with him.”
For obvious reasons, Proehl has made countless visits to UNC. But, he has yet to visit the school as a recruit. However, he plans to do so very soon.
Proehl has, though, made recruiting visits to Charlotte, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.
Proehl’s father, Ricky, played 17 seasons in the NFL, which included two Super Bowl titles. Ricky is currently the Carolina Panthers’ wide receivers coach… In addition to his father, Proehl’s Wake Forest connections are extensive – his sister is a student at the school, his grandfather is a major donor, and Joe Kenn, the Panther’s head strength and conditioning coach who is a close family friend, played collegiately for the Demon Deacons.