Signee Marlon Dunlap is less than three weeks away from reporting to North Carolina. As the days count down, the defensive tackle is experiencing a mixed bag of emotions. But, the prevailing feeling is excitement.
“There’s a little bit of nervousness in there, but there’s a little bit of excitement that plays a part into it,” Dunlap said. “Of course you’re nervous because you’re about to be around a whole different set of people. But, you’re also excited because you’re ready to meet new people and you’re ready to move onto new things. You’re going to be kicking off your adulthood. So, it’s exciting.
“Plus, you’re about to play Carolina football. I’m very excited for this.”
Dunlap, who specifically arrives on June 14, expects to begin playing Carolina football sooner rather than later.
“Coach [Tray] Scott wants me to come there in shape [and] come there ready to play,” Dunlap said. “He doesn’t want me to red-shirt – that’s one thing he definitely doesn’t want me to do. Of course, I have to earn me some reps and earn me some playing time. But they want me to make an impact in the lineup.”
In the months since West Charlotte High’s season ended, Dunlap has been doing everything within his powers to be in shape and ready to play.
“I follow [UNC’s] weight room workouts in the weight room,” Dunlap said. “And then I run with my coach. And I do extra running with my cousins. But, I’m following everything that [UNC] sent me with the workout.
“Carolina’s workout is more organized and more college ready. It’s basically teaching me how to get stronger – not just lift stuff. I’m not saying that West Charlotte wasn’t organized in their workouts, but Carolina has their workouts planned out. They have an actual goal of what you’re trying to work towards, what you’re trying to get to.”
UNC’s workout has helped Dunlap gain 30 pounds since the beginning of his senior season. He’s now walking around with 310/311 pounds on his 6-foot-4 frame.
“Coach Scott really doesn’t care what I come in at,” Dunlap said. “They’re going to develop that over time, like over the summer. But I want to be ahead of the game. I want to have the weight, but be in shape.”
Dunlap has also worked hard in the classroom. A year and a half ago, he wasn’t projected to qualify. Now, his academics are all in line.
“Everything is all good to go with the [NCAA Eligibility Center] and [UNC] Admissions and stuff like that,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap is undecided on his major at UNC, but he’s leaning towards sports management.
“I want to stay inside the sports field,” Dunlap said. “I don’t want to go outside the sports range, as far as an agent or a head coach or Physical Ed [teacher].”
Also yet-to-be-determined is Dunlap’s UNC jersey number.
“We had a little talk about that,” Dunlap said. “I said something about 98 or 75.”
During his West Charlotte career, Dunlap wore No. 75.
“I definitely don’t want to be in charge of groceries,” Dunlap joked. “That’s four big D-linemen in there.”