Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

UNC Football Class of 2017 Signee: WR J.T. Cauthen

Inside Carolina takes a closer look at the Tar Heel signee.

BIO: Enrolled at UNC in January • Four-star prospect who is considered the No. 53 wide receiver in the country, No. 20 in the South and No. 2 in North Carolina by Scout.com • Considered the No. 8 player in North Carolina by the 247sports.com composite rankings • Became Cuthbertson’s all-time career leader in receptions (104) and yards (2,645) during senior season • As a senior, he caught 60 balls for 981 yards and 12 touchdowns • Named to the Charlotte Observer’s inaugural Great 8 as the best wide receiver in the area •  Had a season-high 120 yards receiving in his team’s first round loss to Statesville (N.C.) South Iredell as a senior • Voted the “Big 22” Player of the Year by WSOC in Charlotte after his junior campaign


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RECRUITMENT: After Cauthen participated in Fedora’s Freak Show following his freshman year, UNC became among the first schools to offer. He went on to make countless visits to Chapel Hill in the two years that followed. But, as his self-imposed, post-junior season decision approached, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and South Carolina were constants, while UNC was absent. In somewhat of an about-face, Cauthen committed to UNC a year before his midterm enrollment.

WHY CAROLINA: “They kind of jumped up in my list, because my relationship with Coach [Gunter] Brewer is very strong. Ever since freshman year, he and I have been tight. And we’ve always had that relationship to where I could talk to him about anything whenever – like he’s a coach of my own like [Coach David] Johnson. He comes out and supports me at my games. And then even at morning workouts he was there supporting me. Not only that, I had a talk with my parents about the school. They think it was a good choice for me and they’re happy with it. And overall, I think it’s a great decision.”

EVALUATION: Cauthen is a physical, possession receiver. He’s fearless going across the middle and has the strong mitts to hang onto passes while being hit. He has the body control to adjust to poorly thrown passes and to set up DBs to create separation. He’s not going to pile up the YAC, but he will fight for every last inch.

HS COACH QUOTES: “They’re getting a big, physical receiver. He’s 6-2, probably about 215 pounds. He’s very fluid, has great hands and moves well for his size. You’re talking about a kid who caught about 300 balls during his career. The biggest thing North Carolina is getting in J.T. is a guy who can play outside, inside in the slot, run the wide receiver screens and also get vertical down the field. They’ll be able to find where he fits best on the field and capitalize off of it. Not that he’s going to be as good, but he kind of reminds me of (Oakland Raiders wide receiver) Michael Crabtree – a bigger body receiver that played multiple positions. He’s a trained black belt in karate, and that helps in football because he’s very flexible for his size. He’s a great kid that’s really motivated and I definitely expect him to be on the field in the fall.” — David Johnson, Cuthbertson HS 

UNC WR COACH GUNTER BREWER QUOTES: "J.T. is from the Charlotte area. He’s an early admit, already in school. So he's in meetings, he’s grinding with Lou in the weight room. We look forward to him being a guy that can contribute this year hopefully in a lot of different spots, so we’re excited about him."

UNC HC LARRY FEDORA QUOTES: "J.T. has always been a Tar Heel at heart. He’s been watching the program closely and I think he’s excited about it. He’s a big kid - he’s 6-2, 220 pounds right now, so he’s big and thick, plays with his body, and looking forward to what kind of plays he’ll make this spring."

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: As a freshman, Cauthen was identified as a major wide receiver prospect by Brewer. From that point forward, Brewer made sure to visit Cuthbertson as much as the NCAA allowed and to host not only Cauthen but his parents for visits. … Read the full subscriber-only report 


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