CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Every name that comprised the invite list for North Carolina’s Wednesday junior day had been offered by the Tar Heels – except Eric Douglas. It wasn’t long after the offensive lineman stepped foot on campus before that changed.
Midway through the junior day, Gunter Brewer, who recruits Charlotte for UNC, and Chris Kapilovic, the Tar Heels’ offensive line coach, offered Douglas, a 6-foot-5, 281-pounder from Mallard Creek High.
“We were in the locker room trying on the jerseys,” Douglas said. “And Coach Kap and Coach Brewer just said that they loved me as a player. When we watched film a little bit earlier, [Kapilovic] said he loved my knowledge of the game. He said that he pretty much loved everything about me and he said that he wanted me to play for him.”
UNC is the eighth school to offer Douglas.
“That was one of the offers that I was really waiting for,” Douglas said. “It’s one of my favorite schools as a kid growing up. Seeing some of the people that went to Mallard Creek going up to North Carolina – and seeing them thrive there – that just gave me a little bit more confidence in making my decision on where I want to go. It was just an honor to get that.”
California, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, NC State, and South Carolina are the other schools to have offered Douglas.
But, Douglas has narrowed his focus to Clemson, Florida, UNC, NC State, and South Carolina.
“They’re all close to home, I’ve visited all of them (I visited most of them multiple times), and I like the feel of the coaching staff and the academics,” Douglas said. “I like what they’re about to do in the future.”
After visiting Florida on Saturday, Douglas has visited each of his favorite schools. Now, he begins to mull a decision. He expects to be ready within the next couple of months.
“At the spring game of my school of choice I’ll show up and commit,” Douglas said. “I’ll make [the decision] before that, but I think I want to tell the coaches in person.
“I want to get [my decision] done with before my season, so I can focus on my senior year and try to get the four-peat.”
Mallard Creek has won the past three NCHSAA 4AA State Championships. The past two, Douglas has started at left tackle, the same position that he’s projected to play by Kapilovic.
“I can play anywhere on the offensive line,” Douglas said. “It doesn’t matter where they put me at I’ll play to the best of my abilities.”
Among Douglas’s five favorites, UNC possesses an unmatched advantage – teammate Ryan Jones. Jones, who also attended Wednesday’s junior day, verbally committed to the Tar Heels earlier this month.
“He tried to put that bug in my ear at the [UNC basketball] game Wednesday,” Douglas said with a laugh. “He tried to put it in mine and T.J. [Moore]’s ear. He almost got me after they offered me, because that was – like I said – one of the ones I’ve been waiting for because it was the school I liked growing up and he reminded me about that. I’m pretty sure he’ll be in my ear every day heading up to my decision.”
Prior to the basketball game, the UNC coaching staff had a fairly unique itinerary planned for Douglas and the other junior day attendees.
“It was excellent,” Douglas said. “Them letting us go on the field and walk through the tunnel, them presenting to us all the academic stuff that they had, and also them showing off a couple of the plays that they run – it was pretty awesome to experience.”
As a self-professed UNC basketball fan, Douglas especially enjoyed the "Battle of the Blues" – with the exception of the game’s ending.
“I couldn’t really show that much emotion, because I was on a [recruiting] trip,” Douglas said."But I was hoping [UNC] would win."