Green qualifies, heads to Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Junior College All-American Lionell Green has qualified and been admitted to the University. He'll arrive in Chapel Hill Saturday to practice with the team, wearing No. 38.

"Yes, I have been admitted," Green told Inside Carolina. "My plane leaves for Chapel Hill at 11 a.m."

UNC head coach John Bunting confirmed the news after practice this evening: "Good news! We expect [him] to be here tomorrow and practicing tomorrow. We're excited about that... It was a lot of work. Hats-off to Lionell first. He did a lot of work to get here. [It took] a lot of perseverance on Jim Fleming's part, who recruited him, and the rest of our staff for staying on top of things.

"A lot of things go into recruiting. There was a lot that went into this recruit. The people at Reedley [Community College] were really cooperative with staying in touch to help us stay on top of it. The final stage was going home and being with momma: Gloria—G-L-O-R-I-A."

The UNC coaching staff got word today from the correspondence course and Wharton Co. Junior College what his grades are.

He will make a trip to the UNC Admissions Department first thing upon his arrival in North Carolina, straight from the airport, on Saturday, according to Bunting, to "take care of some housekeeping stuff—a fee here, a fee there, and that kind of stuff."

Even though the rest of the team will be about finished with the NCAA-mandated five-day "acclimation process," which restricts participation to helmets-only in the first two days, then pads, and then full contact, Green will have to go through the full process, starting with only a helmet the first two days.

While he is behind in practice, he has the ability to make up ground in a hurry and make an immediate impact.

"We've seen him play on tape," Bunting said. "We've seen him shut down the No. 1 J.C.—what they call the #1 guy—not once, but twice. He's got speed, he's got size, he's got the ability to block kicks. Now we have to bring him in and teach him our system. I'm curious to see what kind of football shape he'll be in. He's been doing a lot of studying."

Green, who is expected to challenge for a starting job this fall, was ranked as the No. 4 junior college player in America by SuperPrep. He registered 56 tackles, three interceptions, broke up 32 passes, blocked 10 kicks (six punts, four field goals), forced one fumble and recovered one fumble as he helped lead Reedley College to a 12-0 record and the national junior college championship.

Green is the first junior college player at North Carolina since Sherrod Peace (1998-99). He will have two seasons of eligibility.

Check out IC's Lionell Green profile.

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