(Defensive Ends/Tight Ends/Rush DTs)
Target number: 7
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. TE was once considered a dire position of need for ‘02, but Bobby Blizzard's transfer solved the immediate need - though it is still important to build this position for the future. Rush DT could use some depth and skill after the premature departures of Anthony Perkins and Issac Montgomery.
2002 Projected Depth Charts (w/o listing transfers/commitments)
1. Zack Hilton (6-7, 265, Sr-5)
2. Brian Chacos (6-5, 260, Fr-2)
1a. Jacques Dumas (6-8, 260, So-2)
1b. Jermicus Banks (6-4, 260, So-3)
1. Issac Mooring (6-2, 260, Jr-4)
2. Jeff Longhany (6-3, 250, Fr-2) (LB/DE)
3. Tommy Davis (6-2, 250, Fr-2) (LB/DE)
1. Will Chapman (6-4, 275, Jr-4)
2. Eric Davis (6-3, 275, Sr-5)
Bobby Blizzard (6-7, 265, 4.7, VA) - National top 100 and top three 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.
Carl Smalls (6-2, 270, 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. Projected at the Rush DT spot.
Lewis Burnham (6-5, 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. Official visit to UNC on 11/30.
Gaines Adams (6-6, 230, 4.65, SC/FUMA) - Was set to sign with 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. In three games at FUMA this year, Gaines already has 15 tackles for loss at his OLB spot. CLEM, ILL, MICHST and VA also offered. Visited unofficially for the WF game and officially on 11/30. Is still planning on making some other visits, including 1/11 to Clemson.
Kendall High (6-6, 260, 4.8, West Rowan HS, NC) - Nicknamed "man-child" due to the fact that he is an awesome physical specimen (body of a competitive bodybuilder). 50 tackles, nine pressures, six sacks as a junior. Voted overall Conference Player of the Year as a senior. Committed to UNC over scholarship offers from SC, MD, WF and ECU.
1. Aaron Kirkland (6-5, 260, 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 seven sacks as a junior. He caught eight passes for 110 yards on offense. All of his favorites have offered. Had a great unofficial visit for the FSU game and UNC currently is dead even with TN - it looks like it could go either way.
Official Visits: MICH 11/30, FSU 12/?, MD 1/4, UNC 1/11, TN 1/18
Projection: Too close to call between TN and UNC with MICH and FSU coming on strong as well.
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. Moe actually grew up in Durham and only moved to SC within the past five-seven years. UNC currently holds a slight lead over SC, and CLEM (all have offered as have AUB, GA and GAT). Visited Clemson unofficially for the UNC-CLEM game. As with Kirkland, this one seems to go back and forth depending upon the day - this time between UNC and SC.
Official Visits: UNC 1/11, FSU 1/18, SC 1/25, CLEM 2/1.
Projection: Too close to call between SC and UNC
3. Brandon Cannon (6-5, 235, 4.65, GA) - A teammate of another UNC recruit, CB Demario Minter. The two may be a package deal and each lists UNC. Cannon is generally ranked among the top 15 DEs in the nation. 60 tackles and 9 sacks as a senior.
Official Visits: MD 12/14, UCF 1/4, AUB 1/11, CLEM 1/18, UNC 1/25.
4. Marcus Freeman (6-5, 240, 4.75, MN) - A top national prospect at TE and DE, but most project him to TE at the next level. Visiting UNC officially on 12/14 with teammate LB Brandon Archer. Notre Dame and Oklahoma are currently co-leaders.
Official Visits: OKL 11/16, UNC 12/14, NEB 1/11, ND 1/18
Projection: Notre Dame or Oklahoma
5. Xavier Rainey (6-4, 230, 4.55, GA) - Great physical specimen who is somewhat of an unknown to the recruiting services. Visited UNC officially on 11/30.
6. 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 AZ, BC, DUKE, ILL, MICH, MICHST, ND and UNC. Recently broke his fibula - keep an eye out as to whether some schools pull out of the sweepstakes.
Official visits: MICHST 11/30, AZ 12/7, GAT 1/4, UNC 1/11
Projection: Michigan State
7. Vernon Botts (6-4, 240, 4.7, NJ) - TE/DE prospect from South New Jersey (Philadelphia suburbs) who Tom Lemming rates as a "potential all-American" at the college level. Visited UNC officially 12/7.
Projection: Other visits/school interest is unknown at this time.
8. Manny Lawton (6-6, 215, 4.5, NC) - A fabulous "athlete" from Eastern Wayne who is hard to place at any one position on a recruiting board. Plays WR and DE in HS, but could project at WR, TE, DE, or LB depending upon his future growth. Last year made 54 tackles, seven sacks, six pass deflections, three fumble recoveries, one interception. Only current offer is from ECU.
Projection: East Carolina
9. Martrez Miller (6-5, 235, 4.5, GA) - Super fast TE who claims offers from ECU, DUKE, MINN and UNC.
10. TaBryron Adams (6-7, 255, 4.8, FL) - Teammate of highly ranked WR prospect Ryan Moore (who is considering UNC slightly as a FB-BB prospect). 11 catches for 102 yards and 2 tds as a senior. UCF has offered, also being recruited by MD, UNC, NCSU and MIA.
Target number: 2
Ryan Sims was a huge loss at the Nose Tackle spot, leaving a wide open battle for the starting spot and an opportunity for early playing time.
2002 Projected Depth Chart
1. Donti Coates (6-3, 290, Jr-4)
2. Jonas Seawright (6-6, 310, So-3)
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 five years of eligibility beginning in 2002. 95 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and five sacks as a senior. Top 40 nationally ranked DT.
1. Mickey Rice (6-2, 290, 5.0, SC) - Visited unofficially for the WF game. Currently lists MICHST, MD, SC, TN and UNC as his top five. So far, only Michigan State and Tennessee have offered. Visited UNC unofficially for DUKE game.
2. Quincy Darley (6-2, 280, 4.9, SC) - 92 tackles and 15 sacks as a senior. Shrine Bowl selection. Favors GAT (offer), MD (1/11), UNC and WF (1/4, offer).
Projection: Wake Forest
3. Jamil Smith (6-4, 280, 4.8, NC) - Western NC product that is starting to make some noise on the recruiting front with offers from DUKE, GAT and WF. Says he intends to visit UNC officially this winter. NC-SC Shrine Bowl selection - has reportedly been impressive in practices.
Projection: Wake Forest
4. Sheldon Lewis - JUCO DT prospect from Nassau County Community College in Long Island, NY. Visited UNC officially on 12/7.
Projection: Other school interest is unknown at this stage.
Target Number: 5
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 (after grabbing 6, 3, and 6 over the past three).
2002 Projected Depth Chart
1. Issac Morford (6-3, 285, Sr-5)
2. Marcus Wilson (6-3, 285, Jr-4)
1. Jason Brown (6-3, 330, So-2)
1. Jupiter Wilson (6-4, 295, Jr-4)
2. Chase Page (6-5, 270, So-2)
1. Jeb Terry (6-6, 305, Jr-4)
2. Willie McNeill (6-4, 295, So-3)
1. Greg Woofter (6-5, 285, Jr-4)
2. Skip Seagraves (6-5, 285, So-3)
Commitment: Whit Efrid (6-4, 310, 5.1, NC) - Whit comes to UNC out of West Stanly High School in Oakboro, North Carolina. Whit 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) - Among the nation's top five OL prospects. Marcus currently lists UNC, MIA and GAT as his three 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. Visited NCSU for UNC-NCSU game and reportedly made his way to the UNC locker room after the game. Also saw UNC at the GAT-UNC game. Official visit to UNC on 11/30 - says he favors UNC slightly over MIA and GAT after the visit. 46 tackles and 13 sacks at DL as a senior, 76 pancake blocks on offense.
2. Kyle Ralph (6-5, 280, OH) - Top 10 national offensive G prospect who committed to Vanderbilt earlier this spring, but has now opened up the process following Woody W's resignation. Now lists OSU, FL, ILL and UNC among his favorites, along with BC, MISS, SC, TN, ND, PITT and VANDY. All have offered.
Official Visits: ILL (12/7), OSU (12/14), UNC (1/11), FL (1/18)
3. Brian Johnson (6-5, 290, FL) - Top national OL prospect who currently states that either UNC and LSU are tied or that UNC leads, followed closely by LSU, depending on the service.
Official Visits: LSU 11/30, UNC 12/7, CLEM 1/11, ARK 1/18, NCSU/SC 1/25.
4. Brandon Jefferies (6-5, 270, NC) - Brandon is ranked by alliancesports.com as the #2 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 - first said to favor TN, then said he was wide open among TN, UNC, and NCST, now back to saying TN leads. Visited unofficially for the WF game.
5. Jimmy Martin (6-5, 300, VA/FUMA) - Originally from Chantilly, VA, is spending a year at Fork Union to shore up academics. UNC official visit on 11/30 and to WVU on 12/7.
Projection: Virginia Tech
6. 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. Currently favors Clemson slightly over South Carolina, Carolina and Maryland. Visited UNC unofficially for the ECU game.
Official visits: UNC (11/30), SC (12/7), MD (1/4) and CLEM (1/11).
7. Jonathan Palmer (6-6, 310, 4.8, GA) - Teammate of UNC lean Marcus McNeill. Plays DT and OT in HS. Visiting UNC officially on 1/18.
8. Jabari Levy (6-8, 300, SC) - CLEM and SC lead TN and UNC for this mammoth OL prospect out of Berekely, SC.
Official Visits: TN 1/11, SC 1/18, UNC 1/25, FSU 2/1
Projection: South Carolina
9. Patrick Faulk (6-3, 260, NJ) - OT/DT prospect. His cousin Kurt Faulk played football for UNC in the 80s. Teammate of current UNC commitment Melik Brown. 90 tackles and 8 sacks from his DT spot as a senior. UNC currently has a huge lead over MD, MINN, SYR and WISC. All five have offered and SYR and WISC like him at DT.
10. Randy Hand (6-6, 300, FL) - National top 100 player. Has set visits with UNC 11/30, UVA 12/7 and SC 12/14. Also going to trip to two from FL, MICH and MIA.
11. Chris Woods (6-5, 265, 5.0, SC) - This Irmo, SC product says he will visit UNC officially on 1/11 and will also visit Maryland and North Carolina State.
Projection: North Carolina State
12. Jeff Edwards (6-5, 285, GA) - Former teammate of current Tar Heel Brandon Russell. Set to visit Ohio State 11/30, Maryland 12/7 and Stanford 1/11. Also considering DUKE, NW, and NC. 3.5 GPA and 1250 SAT and says academics are extremely key to his recruitment.
13. Jonathan Benson (6-5, 280, NC) - West Montgomery student who was awarded the prestigious UNC Morehead Scholar with a 4.4 GPA and a 1570 SAT. It is my belief that UNC would likely be recruiting him but for his Morehead candidacy - i.e., if he comes to UNC as a Morehead Scholar, could "walk on" the football team because UNC isn't recruiting him. UNC's main competition for Jonathan is coming from Harvard, Yale and Princeton, with schools like Stanford, Virginia and Wake Forest actively recruiting him for football and academically.
Projection: Morehead walk-on
14. 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. Even if UNC decides not to offer, the UNC coaching staff would like to see Joseph come aboard as a "recruited walk-on" with the potential to earn a scholarship down the road like Will Chapman, David Thornton, Robert Harris, David Bomar, Ross McAllister, Jeff Reed, etc. in recent memory.
Projection: Fork Union/Hargrave
15. Leroy Harris (6-5, 285, 5.0, NC) - This Southeast Raleigh OL/DT prospect is currently committed to NCSU but says he may visit UNC and/or ECU officially this December. 50 tackles and eight sacks as a junior.
Projection: North Carolina State
16. Daniel Inman (6-8, 300, 5.0, NC) - Currently committed to ECU where his dad is a former all-star football player, but NCSU and UNC are trying to pry official visits out of this NC-SC Shrine Bowl player.
Projection: East Carolina