Mac's Recruiting Board (9-14-01)

Inside Carolina's football recruiting analyst takes an in-depth look at the latest 'recruiting board' for the Tar Heels.


Important to get one a year for depth and development.

Transfer Commitment: CJ Stephens (6-2, 215, 4.7, FL) - Stephens was considered a top 100 national recruiting coming out of HS in 99. He signed with FL, where his father was and is the OL coach, but due to a torn ACL suffered late in his senior year of HS, he quickly got "behind" other young and talented QBs Rex Grossman and Brock Berlin. Was an SEC academic all-American in each of the past two years and had a 3.9 GPA and 1300 SAT coming out of HS. Transferred to UNC this summer and will be eligible to play in 02 and 03.

1. Wyatt Sexton (6-3, 190, 4.75, FL) - Like Stephens, is the son of a prominent football coach in the state of FL - FSU's RB coach Billy Sexton. Passed for 2,900 yards and 28 TDs as a junior. Florida State, UNC, and Illinois have offered. 3.9 GPA and 1300 SAT. Currently, FSU and UNC are his top two.

2. Patrick Dosh (6-3, 205, 4.75, VA) - Set to shatter all state of VA career passing marks this year (but plays for a private school team so the competition not considered strong). UNC is his only major offer and the Tar Heels currently hold a slight lead over NCSU, VA and VAT.


With only 3 scholarship TBs on the roster, and none really setting the college football world on fire thus far, UNC could use a game breaker at TB.

1. Thomas Clayton (6-0, 200, 4.32, VA) - SuperPrep top 10 national RB. Fits the Coach Powell (UNC's RB coach) ideal of a big, fast TB. Last season, Thomas rushed for over 1800 yards with 19 touchdowns to his credit. As a track star, Tom has run a 10.4 100m and a 22.3 200m. He also has the 8th fastest time nationally in the 55m at 6.2 seconds. Clayton also has some famous football-playing relatives. He has one cousin that plays for the San Francisco 49er's (Julian Peterson) and another cousin that plays running back for the University of Maryland, former Carolina signee Jason Crawford. Tom visited Chapel Hill back in April of this year. The most important aspect in choosing a college for Tom is the prospect of early playing time. Tom's current favorites include UNC, PSU, ND, NW and MICHST. The two front runners in the early part of the recruiting season have been PSU and UNC.

2. Joel McClenney (5-11, 195, 4.4, NC) - This Perquamis star rushed for over 1,900 yards as a junior and is off to a big start in 2001. He has been offered a scholarship by ECU. Carolina has not offered Joel yet, but is actively recruiting. Some schools like Joel as a CB as well as a TB.


UNC did not add a fullback in 2001 and there is some speculation that either Madison Hedgecock or Kitwana Jones could be moved to LB next year. Also, it is possible that Richard Moore may not return for a fifth year. Thus, a pure fullback could really help this year.

1. Brandon Schweitzer (6-3, 230, 4.7, NC) - This Hendersonville product is a "jumbo athlete" who can play FB/TE/LB. He is a state championship wrestler and is a workhorse throwback in the mold of John Bunting, Madison Hedgecock and Will Chapman. Last year, he caught over 30 passes for approximately 500 yards and 4 touchdowns. On defense, he made over 100 tackles. Current favorites include UNC, SC, NAVY and WF. The only thing holding UNC back is that Brandon would like to be an engineer someday and UNC does not have a pure engineering major (though it does have engineering "related" majors).

Wide Receiver

UNC definitely has adequate depth and solid numbers at the WR spot already, making WR one of the lesser needs this recruiting season. That being said, this is a great year for WRs in UNC's primary recruiting territories so don't be surprised to see the Tar Heels "load up" on the position while the "getting's is good."

Verbal: Derrele Mitchell (6-4, 200, 4.5, NC/VA Prep School) - Derrele signed with UNC in 2001 but is spending this fall at Hargrave Military Academy to shore up his academics. Mitchell was selected last year as the NC Male Athlete of the Year after leading his basketball team (RJ Reynolds) to the state championship and accumulating 1,223 yards and 10 touchdowns on the gridiron as a senior. He was ranked as a top 50 national wide receiver coming out of high school with more than a dozen offers including offers from all the NC schools, TN, VAT, CLEM, SC and GA.

1. Ian Firestone (6-2, 190, 4.35, PA) - Last year he had 43 receptions for 550 yards and 7 touchdowns. On kick returns he averaged 44 yards per return. Currently, it appears to be a three-horse race between Purdue, Boston College, and Carolina. Ian has visited Chapel Hill unofficially in early August. He also plans to attend a Carolina home game as part of an official visit and will likely decide within the next month or so after he visits all three of his favorites. Ian intends to major in Business and academics are very important to him.

2. Ryan Moore (6-4, 200, 4.4, FL) - Listed by alliancesports as the #1 WR in the nation. Over 900 yards receiving to his credit as a junior. Ryan is insisting upon a basketball-football double in college and his four favorites are FL, LSU, MIA and UNC.

3. Ty Zimmerman (6-4, 200, 4.55, SC/FUMA) - Was listed as a top 100 national WR by some services coming out of HS. Committed to Clemson, failed to qualify, spending a year at FUMA and is now open between CLEM, SC and UNC (the three finalists for his services last year).

4. Mike Williams (6-5, 200, 4.5, FL) - Big WR target who has more than a dozen offers including UNC, CL, FL, FSU and UVA. 19 receptions and 12 touchdowns as a junior. Mike has scheduled an official visit to Chapel Hill on January 11, 2002.

5. Tarrance Holmes (5-11, 190, 4.5, NJ) - 1000 yards and 13 tds as a junior. From Glassboro, NJ where John Bunting coached Glassboro State for 5 years in the early 90s. UNC in top 5 along with TN, GAT, FL and FSU. Has offers from GAT, RUT, IA, SYR, and PUR.

6. Andre Hemphill (6-1, 190, 4.5, NC) - Is a teammate of current Tar Heel pledge D. J. Walker at Brevard. Last year, he had 41 catches for 648 yards and 9 touchdowns on offense and registered 33 tackles and 5 interceptions on defense. UNC is his only major offer at this stage.

Tight End

Once considered a dire position of need, seems to be addressed with the following two early commitments:

Transfer Commitment: Bobby Blizzard (6-7, 265, 4.7, VA) - National top 100 and top 3 TE in the nation coming out of HS. Originally signed with high octane offense of Hal Mumme at Kentucky coming out of HS where he made 30 catches as a true freshman and true sophomore. Decided to transfer to UNC this summer when Hal Mumme was fired. Will be eligible in 2002 and 2003.

Commitment: Lewis Burnham (6-5 ½, 240, 4.75, NJ) - The son of Len Burnham, who played DE on the Philadelphia Eagles with John Bunting in the 70s and who is currently Vice President of the NFL. Lewis plays OL in HS because he is one of the biggest kids on his team and is a great blocker. However, at 240, he doesn't project to OL at the next level (unless he puts on 40-50 pounds). Camped at UNC and worked with Coach Browning at the TE spot where he showed good speed, tremendous hands, good route running and a great overall grasp on the TE spot. Was offered as a TE on the spot (though he could also play DE) and committed to UNC over offers from KY, IA and RUT.

Offensive Line

A decade long sore spot with UNC fans, of which Coach Bunting has made no secret of his desire to upgrade. Thus, look for UNC to go for around four more OLs this year (6, 3, 5 over the past three).

Commitment: Whit Efrid (6-4, 310, 5.1, NC) - Whit, who comes to UNC out of West Stanly High School in Oakboro, North Carolina. Whit is 6' 4", weighs 310 lbs, is extremely strong, as evidenced by his 410 bench press and 525 squat. He averaged five pancake blocks as an offensive lineman last year and also performed the kicking duties for West Stanly. Whit is considered a consensus top 25 player in NC and is ranked as a top 60 national OLman.

1. Marcus McNeil (6-7, 310, GA) - SuperPrep ranks McNeil as the nation's #1 OL prospect. Marcus currently lists MIA and UNC as his two favorites and he grew up a Carolina fan when he lived in Fayetteville, NC. He has since moved to Georgia, but still has some family in the area.

2. Derek Morris (6-6, 340, NC) - This Charlotte, NC product is considered one of the top 15 OLs in the nation. He unofficially visited Chapel Hill on July 21, 2001. He has set up the following official visits; Ohio State October 5, Notre Dame November 2, Georgia November 9, Tennessee December 7, and the last visit will be selected from among Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina State, and North Carolina. The Vols are considered the team to beat.

3. Brandon Jefferies (6-5, 270, NC) - Brandon is ranked by alliancesports as the #1 G in the nation. He hails from Shelby, NC (Crest High School, same school as Chesley Borders). Brandon is quick for a young man his size (4.8 40) and strong (400 lb. Bench press). He will probably wait until late January or early February before deciding but UNC, NCST, and TN appear to have the early lead.

4. Dustin Fry (6-3, 300, SC) - State wrestling champion and former HS teammate of current Tar Heel Chase Page. Dustin bench presses 400 lbs. and squats over 600 lbs. Current favorites include Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Carolina, and Virginia Tech.

5. Brandon Greeson (6-4, 330, NC) - Yet another excellent OL prospect from NC, Brandon attended Carolina's summer football camp in June. Unfortunately, Brandon is primarily considering out-of -state schools currently (MICH, TN and NEB).

6. Jonathan Benson (6-5, 280, NC) - West Montgomery student who is a Morehead Scholar candidate with a 4.4 GPA and a 1570 SAT. UNC's main competition for Jonathan is coming from Harvard, Yale and Princeton currently.

7. Joseph Stutts (6-0, 260, NC) - Center prospect from Wilson-Fike in the mold of current UNC starting C Adam Metts (6-0, 260). East Carolina and Marshall have offered Joseph a scholarship, but Joseph has said that he is UNC bound when and if they offer.

Defensive Tackle

Loss of Ryan Sims, uncertainly of Anthony Perkins (will he get 6th year medical from NCAA) and fact that UNC signed 0 DTs in 2001 who are currently on the roster make this a position of some need.

Transfer Commitment: Carl Smalls (6-2, 280, 4.9, SC) - Committed to SC out of HS after considering UNC, decided to transfer to UNC this past summer and will be eligible in 2002-2004. NC-SC Shrine Bowl MVP coming out of HS. Top 40 nationally ranked DT coming out of HS. Chiseled frame, strong and fast for his size.

Commitment: Antavius Barrino (6-5, 260, 5.0, NC) - Signed with UNC out of Forest Hills in 2001, but a bout with mono in August put him out of action and he decided to wait till January 2002 to enroll thus giving him 5 years of eligibility beginning in 2002. 95 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 5 sacks as a senior. Top 40 nationally ranked DT.

1. Aaron Kirkland (6-5, 250, 4.8, NC) - Great "jumbo athlete" prospect from Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Aaron is considered as one of the top 100 players in the nation at the tight end position. Could project at TE/DE or DT (my personal belief) at the next level. Carolina is primarily recruiting Aaron to play defensive end, the position he prefers to play, where Aaron recorded 80 tackles and 7 sacks as a junior. He caught 8 passes for 110 yards on offense. He, at one time, said he was going to commit somewhere prior to the end of September but now has decided to wait at least until after his football season is over. His current favorites are UNC (camp), TN (camp), Clemson, and FSU. All of his favorites have offered.

2. Moe Thompson (6-3, 260, 4.8, SC) - Similar to Aaron in size, ranking and possible positions he could play. His mom has asked Moe to not consider schools beyond 4-6 hours from his home because she wants to come see him play regularly. Current leaders for Moe are SC, UNC, and CLEM (all have offered as have AUB, GA and GAT).

Defensive End

With Julius Peppers and Joey Evans departing after 2001, and with only three apparent DE contributors on the roster (Dumas, Mooring and Banks) absent the shift of one or more current LBs down, DE is a spot where a newcomer is needed to step in and contribute right away.

1. Gaines Adams (6-5, 225, 4.6, SC/FUMA) - Was set to commit to UNC in 2001, but needs to spend a year at prep school shoring up academics first. As a senior in high school, Gaines recorded 22 sacks on defense and caught over 1300 yards as a wide receiver.

2. Jyles Tucker (6-4, 235, 4.55, NJ) - Last season he had 128 tackles and 22 sacks. UNC has offered Jyles a scholarship conditionally based on achievement of a satisfactory qualifying test score. RUT and UNC lead.

3. Steve Kelip (6-7, 225, 4.7, IL) - Huge frame with plenty of room for growth. Made an unofficial visit to UNC this past summer and his current list of favorites includes BC, ILL, MICH, MICHST, ND, and UNC.

4. Rashad Goodrum (6-4, 240, 4.7, NC/FUMA) - Originally from Pine Forest, is attending Fork Union Military Academy this fall to shore up his academics. Played FB and LB in HS, but likely projects as a DE at the next level.


With all three LB starters departing after this year and less than adequate depth, LB is a huge need for 2002 and a position where someone could step in an play right away.

1. A. J. Nicholson (6-2, 228, 4.6, NC) - AJ's father, Darrell, played for Carolina during the Crum era (also as a linebacker). A. J.'s favorite team growing up was Carolina and has stated that it has always been his dream to play for UNC. Committed to UNC very early this summer, but decided to he wanted to take some other visits. Last season, for Winston-Salem, Mt. Tabor, he had 160 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. AJ is considered one of the top two prospects in NC and among the top 5 LBs in the nation. He currently lists UNC, ND, FL, FSU and TN as his favorites.

2. Victor Worsley (6-2, 228, 4.6, NC) - Victor's a big hitter that has caused over 15 fumbles the last two years. In his junior year. Victor recorded 120 tackles as a junior. Rates among the top 15 players in NC. It appears to be a State/UNC battle for Victor.


UNC has only five CBs currently on the roster, and after Hood graduates we will have only four, making CB a spot where someone can step in and play right away.

1.A. J. Davis (5-11, 175, 4.35, NC) - AJ is considered one of the top defensive backs in the country and one of the top two overall players in NC. Last year for Northern Durham, AJ made 26 tackles, 6 interceptions (3 returned for TDs), 10 TDs as a receiver, and 2 punt return TDs. He is also the current state champion in the high jump, long jump, and the triple jump. His cousin Donnie Davis was an outstanding high school quarterback in Burlington and went on to play in college at Georgia Tech. A. J. intends to run track in college and any school that will not allow him to participate in both sports will not be considered. Northern Durham has produced several outstanding players for the University of North Carolina including current players Andre Williams and Kory Bailey, former payers Sherrod and Jason Peace, and David Bomar. Additionally, current Carolina Assistant Coach was the Northern Durham Head Football coach for many years. AJ's list changes a lot, but the consistently mentioned favorites include UNC, ND, WF (where two of his teammates have already committed), OKL, AL and NEB.

2. Fred Bennett (6-2, 180, 4.45, SC) - Ranked as a top eight national DB prospect by SuperPrep, Fred plays wide receiver as well as corner in High School. He caught 30 passes his junior year for approximately 500 yards (3 for touchdowns). On defense, Fred registered 79 tackles and 7 interceptions. Fred currently favors CLEM over SC, UNC, and GAT.

3. Marcus Hamilton (6-1, 190, 4.5, VA) - Another top eight national DB prospect, Marcus made 41 tackles and 2 interceptions despite missing one-third of the year due to injury. Early playing time is important to Marcus and his preference would be to not redshirt. Current favorites include GA, VA, SYR, and NCST, with MICHST, UNC and PITT fighting for fifth visit.

4. Fabian Washington (6-0, 190, 4.4, FL) - Fabian has offers from UNC, Alabama, Nebraska, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Iowa, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, and Auburn. Carolina will be working hard to get a visit from this talented player.

5. Demario Minter (5-10, 175, 4.45, GA) - Was voted to the NIKE Camp all-American team as a result of his impressive showing at the Atlanta Nike Camp. He has liked UNC from the beginning but the Carolina coaching staff has yet to have been able to watch him play or review film in order to offer him a scholarship. Demario has offers from Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and South Carolina.


With the graduation of Billy Dee Greenwood and the pre-mature departures of Jovon Lewis and Marcus Jones this summer, S is a spot that could use another player or two for future depth.

Verbal Commitment: D. J. Walker (6-1, 170, 4.41, NC) - Last year (Walker's first on varsity) D. J. rushed for 1.946 yards on 255 carries (7.6 ypc average), scored 23 touchdowns, and had approximately 2250 yards of total offense. On defense, D. J. recorded 45 tackles and three interceptions. Walker had the third fastest time in the State 2-A track meet for the 100 and 300-meter hurdles. Walker earned all-area and all-conference honors. DJ is a consensus top 20 player in NC.

1. Maurice Hart (6-1, 210, 4.4, NC) - Another former Northern Durham product, Maurice currently plays for College of the Canyons Junior College in California. Maurice has a reputation as a big hitter. He has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oregon, and Oregon State. Carolina has offered him conditionally provided he meets his academic requirements.


Blake Ferguson's premature departure and Jeff Reed's graduate make K/P a position of need.

1. Justin Medlock (6-0, 180, CA) - Justin was offered a scholarship after attending Carolina's summer camp. Justin is a life-long Carolina fan and UNC is considered one of his top two schools - along with an unnamed CA school.

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