Up Close: Ben Lemming, Part I

It took just one visit from UNC offensive line coach Hal Hunter to the No. 1 private high school football program in Texas, to offer Houston Strake Jesuit's top offensive lineman, Ben Lemming, a scholarship to play football at North Carolina.

The Crusaders (7-2) were not practicing that day last summer. However head coach Ron Counter presented Hunter with some game tape, and immediately he wanted to speak with the Lemming family.

"He offered me before I even went to camp," Ben Lemming said. "Honestly, I think they are just looking for some good guys and I think I'm a pretty good guy. He was looking for guys that are going to work hard and not give them any problems, and I think he liked what he saw.

"He told my dad that day and they really connected well. Coach Hunter is really interested in guys with good character and a hard work ethic."

Ben's father Jim Lemming was an offensive tackle at North Texas State under Haden Fry, and then current Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore, who replaced Fry at NTSU. So he is savvy to the ways of collegiate recruiting.

"I still have a lot of friends in college coaching," Jim Lemming said. "We're really excited about UNC. We were really impressed with both the academic standing of the school, the physical campus, the administration that we met and certainly with Coach [John] Bunting, Coach Hunter and the other coaches. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in those guys and we think that they are putting together a winner, and we're excited about Ben having an opportunity to be a part of that."

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Lemming had an offer from Stanford and is still being pursued posthumously by the Cardinal, new ACC member Boston College and Northwestern.

While the Insiders network has Lemming listed as a two-star prospect, the "experts" are waiting on more film to make a more accurate assessment. And keep in mind, nearly all college coaches vehemently disregard the ratings of recruiting services anyway.

"Speed and strength and run blocking are my strengths," Ben Lemming said. "Getting on the linebacker and making downfield blocks is my biggest strength."

Lemming's is a firm commitment indeed. And to him, that means a lot.

"I'm really glad that I committed early," Ben Lemming said. "It's been crazy. The colleges are still coming after me. It teaches you about the true meaning of commitment."

"You hear about should a kid commit early or not," Jim Lemming added. "Based on the choices he had, there was really nothing else that he needed to wait around for. We felt like he was in a good position to make a good decision."

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow…

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