Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

Va. DE Tola Banjoko Eager to Visit UNC

Tar Heel coaches aren't the only ones selling Tola Banjoko on UNC.

CLIFTON, Va. --- North Carolina is pursing yet another Canadian import by way of Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal. Earlier this spring, UNC offered Tola Banjoko, a 6-foot-4, 233-pound defensive lineman.

"I haven't been able to visit [UNC], but I plan to for sure," Banjoko said. "It will probably be sometime this summer -- just as soon as possible."

Besides UNC, Georgia, NC State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and Wisconsin  have offered Banjoko.

As part of the 2016 class, UNC signed Patrice Rene, who like Banjoko grew up in Canada and eventually enrolled at Episcopal. Although he spent much of his life in Lumberjack Country, Banjoko was born in Chicago.

Despite the lack of a visit, Banjoko says UNC is among the schools that have grabbed his attention.

"Carolina, obviously, Wisconsin, Georgia, Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt have caught my eye," Banjoko said. "Just every school that's recruiting me I like, but I'm keeping an open mind.

"I like [UNC's] basketball team, obviously. But they're a good [football] team."

While he communicates frequently with area recruiter John Papuchis, Banjoko says his most trusted UNC intel has come from Rene.

"He said it's a great school," Banjoko said. "The realest thing he said was they don't hold you back as a freshman. So, if you're the best player on the field as a freshman, you're going to play regardless of if there's ten seniors ahead of you. That's something I really like."

Rene is living proof of that philosophy. As a true freshman last season, he appeared in 11 games starting five at cornerback.

"It says to me the coaches are going to put the best players on the field," Banjoko said. "They're going to play the players that they think will make them win. It's really good to see a coaching staff not interested in the politics of seniors -- he just wants to get the best 11 on the field."

In addition to UNC, Banjoko is looking to visit NC State, Syracuse, and Vanderbilt.

"I'd like to get some of these visits done in the next couple of weeks," Banjoko said. "But if not, then in the summer."

Thus far, Banjoko has visited Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Wisconsin.

Banjoko, who is being recruited as a defensive end by UNC, plans to make a verbal commitment sometime prior to his senior season.

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