Football Recruiting Board - 1/21/02

1/21/02 North Carolina Football recruiting board...

Running Back
TB - With 4 young TBs (albeit none really setting the college football world on fire thus far) UNC will only opt for a potential game breaker at TB.

FB - UNC did not add a fullback in 2001 and it is possible that Richard Moore will likely not return for a fifth year. Thus, a pure fullback could really help this year.

Target Number - 2

Commitments:
Mahlon Carey (6-2, 200, 4.5, GA) - Rushed for 1507 yards and 20 tds (7.3 avg) and made 85 tackles, 6 sacks and 3 ints from his SS position as a junior.  Could also project to SS/OLB.

Offers: UNC, GAT, NW and LOUIS.
Official Visit: 1/11
Rankings: Top 50
Recruiter: Huxtable

D. J. Walker (6-1, 170, 4.5, NC) - TB/FS prospect from Brevard, NC. Last year (Walker's first on varsity) D. J. rushed for 1.946 yards on 255 carries (7.6 ypc average), scored 23 touchdowns, and had approximately 2,250 yards of total offense. On defense, D. J. recorded 45 tackles and three interceptions. Walker had the third fastest time in the State 2-A track meet for the 100 and 300-meter hurdles.

Offers: UNC, CLEM, SC, DUKE
Official visit: 1/11
Ranking: Top 75
Recruiter: Huxtable

Remaining Board:
1. Wali Lundy (6-0, 195, 4.4, NJ) - Rushed for 1,700 yards and 32 tds as a senior. As a junior, caught 50 passes for 1002 yards and 9 tds and rushed for 705 yards and 11 tds on only 60 carries.

Official Visits: BC 11/30, GA 12/7, UNC 1/11
Offers: NEB, OSU, UNC, GAT, CLEM, SC, BC, RUT, SYR, MICHST, NW
Ranking: Top 20
Recruiter: Webster
Projection: Boston College

2. Obi Oluigbo (6-2, 235, 4.67, VA) - FB-MLB prospect who made 141 tackles and 23 tackles for loss as a senior. Benches 375 and squats 525.

Offers: PSU, MICH, UNC, PITT, MD
Official Visits: PSU 12/7, MICH 1/11, UNC 1/18, MD 1/25
Ranking: Top 50
Recruiter: Tranquill
Projection: Penn State

Wide Receiver
Although UNC has adequate depth at the WR spot heading into next year, (a) UNC will graduate its top 3 WRs after '02 (Allen, Borders, Aiken) and jobs will be wide open for '03, and (b) this is a great year for WRs in UNC's primary recruiting territories so don't be surprised to see the Tar Heels "load up" on the position while the "getting is good." 

Target Number: 4

Commitments:
Ian Firestone (6-1, 190, 4.35, PA) - Last year, he had 43 receptions for 550 yards and 7 touchdowns. On kick returns he averaged 44 yards per return. Committed to UNC after the Clemson game.  Came to UNC unofficially in August and made his official visit for the VA game. Came again in November and again in January to help recruit prospects.

Offers: 12+ including UNC, MIA, ND, GAT, VA, BC, NW, PITT and PUR.
Official Visit: 10/13
Rankings: Top 20
Recruiter: Tranquill

Derrele Mitchell (6-3, 200, 4.5, NC/VA Prep School) - Derrele signed with UNC in 2001 but is spending this fall at Hargrave Military Academy to shore up his academics.  Mitchell was selected last year as the NC Male Athlete of the Year after leading his basketball team (RJ Reynolds) to the state championship and accumulating 1,223 yards and 10 touchdowns on the gridiron as a senior.  He was ranked as a top 50 national wide receiver coming out of high school.

Offers: 12+ including all the NC schools, TN, VAT, CLEM, SC and GA.
Ranking: Top 50
Recruiter: Caldwell

David Noel (6-4, 210, 4.5, NC) - Unknown by recruiting gurus (haven't seen him listed by a single recruiting service), but area college coaches knew all about this Billy McMullen clone as evidenced by his offer list.  Had a monster senior year with 44 receptions for 1024 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Offers: UNC, SC, WF and VA.
Official Visit: 1/11
Ranking: Top 60
Recruiter: Browning

Princell Brockenborough (6-3, 205, 4.45, CA/VA) - Originally from Southeastern, VA, has spent the past two seasons at San Francisco JUCO working on academics.

Offers: Dozens
Ranking: Consensus top 3 JUCO WR
Recruiter: Powell

Offensive Line
A decade long sore spot with UNC fans, of which Coach Bunting has made no secret of his desire to upgrade.

Target Number: 5

Commitments:
Kyle Ralph (6-5, 280, OH) - Very smart and talented player who committed to Vanderbilt earlier this spring, but has now opened up the process following Woody W's departure

Offers: OSU, FL, ILL, UNC, BC, MISS, SC, TN, ND, PITT and VANDY.
Rankings: Top 30
Official Visit: 1/11
Recruiter: Tenuta

Whit Efrid (6-4, 310, 5.1, NC) - Whit comes to UNC out of West Stanly HS in Oakboro. Whit is extremely strong, as evidenced by his 410 bench press and 525 squat. He averaged 5 pancake blocks last year and also performed the kicking duties for West Stanly.

Offers: UNC, ECU.
Ranking: Top 70
Official Visit: 1/11
Recruiter: Brewer

Chris Woods (6-5, 280, SC) - Very strong and athletic. State wrestling champ.
Offers: UNC, VANDY
Official Visit: 1/11
Recruiter: Powell

Remaining Board:
1. Marcus McNeil (6-7, 310, GA) - Marcus currently lists UNC, MIA and GAT as his three favorites (also lists AUB and TN), and he grew up a UNC fan when he lived in Fayetteville, NC. He has since moved to GA, 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. Official visit to UNC on 11/30 - post visit says he favors UNC slightly over MIA and GAT after the visit.  TN is recruiting as a TE and GAT is recruiting as a DT.  46 tackles and 13 sacks at DL as a senior, 76 pancake blocks on offense.

Offers: 40+
Official Visits: UNC 11/30, TN 1/11, AUB 1/18, MIA 1/25
Ranking: Top 10
Recruiter: Huxtable
Projection: UNC

2. Brandon Jefferies (6-5, 270, NC) - Brandon hails from Shelby, NC (Crest High School, same school as Chesley Borders). Quick for 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 slightly. Has now narrowed list from 40 to 4 - TN, UNC, NCSU and SC - with TN holding a slight lead.  Visited unofficially for the WF game.

Offers: 40+
Official Visits: TN 1/11, NCSU 1/18, SC 1/25, UNC 2/2
Recruiter: Powell
Ranking: Top 10
Projection: Tennessee

3. Brian Johnson (6-5, 290, FL) - Top national OL prospect who had recently stated that either UNC and LSU are tied or that UNC leads, followed closely by LSU, depending on the service. Now saying he is going into his final visits with an open mind.  Bunting is making

Official Visits: LSU 11/30, UNC 12/7, CLEM 1/11, ARK 1/18, NCSU 1/25.
Offers: LSU, UNC, CLEM, ARK, NCSU, SC
Rankings: Top 50
Recruiter: Brewer
Projection: ARK

4. Jonathan Palmer (6-5, 300, GA) - OT/DT who best projects as an OL at the next level.  Teammate of UNC lean Marcus McNeill. Benches 340. Loves GAT's electrical engineering program.

Official Visits: GAT 1/4, AUB 1/11, UNC 1/18, CLEM 1/20, VA 1/25
Offers: GAT, UNC, AUB, CLEM, SC, VA
Ranking: Top 50
Recruiter: Huxtable
Projection: GAT

5. 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 to UNC

Jumbo Athletes

(6-3/6-6, 230/260, 4.6-4.8 guys who project equally well as Defensive Ends/Tight Ends/Rush DTs)

DE - 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 to DE, this 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. Bobby Blizzard's transfer in and Zack Hilton's emergence solved the immediate need - though it is still important to build this position for the future given that Blizzard and Hilton are 4th and 5th year players. 

Rush DT - UNC could use some depth and skill here after the departures of Anthony Perkins and Issac Montgomery.

Target number: 5

Commitments:
Lewis Burnham (6-5, 240, 4.8, NJ) - TE/DE.  The son of Len Burnham, who played DE for 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). 

Offers: UNC, KY, IA, RUT
Official visit: 11/30.
Ranking: Top 50
Recruiter: Webster

Gaines Adams (6-6, 230, 4.7, SC/FUMA) - DE/TE.  Was set to sign with UNC in 2001, but needed 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.  At FUMA this year, Gaines made 15 sacks at his OLB spot. Visited unofficially for the WF game and officially on 11/30.  Although he has publicly stated that he is committed to UNC twice, both times his dad subsequently said Clemson is still involved.

Offers: UNC, CLEM, VA, ILL, MICHST, WV, VAT.
Official Visit: 11/30
Recruiter: Tenuta
 
Brian Rackley (6-6, 235, 4.7, FL) - 105 tackles and 8 sacks as a senior. Defensive caption of the FL team in the FL-GA all-star game. Committed on 1/11 visit, but will still visit Iowa on 1/21.

Official Visit:  UNC 1/11
Offers: UNC, SYR, KY, IA, MINN
Recruiter: Brewer
 
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, 9 pressures, 6 sacks as a junior. Voted overall Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

Offers: UNC, SC, MD, WF and ECU.
Official Visit: 12/14
Recruiter: Powell
Ranking: Top 60

Alden Blizzard (6-4, 230, 4.7, MD) - 80 tackles and 9 sacks as a junior and 50 tackles and 10 sacks as a senior.

Official visit: 12/14
Recruiter: Powell

Remaining Board:
1. Aaron Kirkland (6-5, 260, 4.8, NC) - Great "jumbo athlete" (TE/DE/DT) prospect from Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Recorded 80 tackles and 7 sacks as a junior. Also caught 8 passes for 110 yards on offense. Unofficial visit for the FSU game.

Official Visits: MICH 11/30, UNC 1/11, TN 1/18, FSU 1/25
Offers: 40+
Recruiter: Browning
Ranking: Top 5 TE
Projection: Tennessee

2. Manny Lawson (6-6, 205, 4.5, NC) - DE/TE/WR/LB prospect. 54 tackles and 7 sacks as a junior; 50 tackles and 4 sacks as a senior on his way to Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.  Wants to major in architecture so UNC is unlikely destination.

Official Visits: ECU 11/30, NCSU 12/7, DUKE 1/11, UNC 1/18
Offers: TN, UNC, NCSU, MD, ECU, DUKE
Recruiter: Browning
Projection: UNC

Nose Tackle
Ryan Sims was a huge loss at NT, leaving a wide open battle for the starting spot and an opportunity for early playing time.

Target number: 1

Commitment:
Mickey Rice (6-1, 290, 5.0, SC) - Visited unofficially for the WF and DUKE games. 88 tackles and 8 sacks as a junior.

Offers: MICHST, TN, SC, UNC
Recruiter: Browning
Ranking: Top 65

Linebacker
With all three LB starters departing after this year and less than adequate depth, LB is a huge need for 2002 and a position where someone could step in and play right away.

Target Number: 4/5

Commitments:
(SAM) Melik Brown (6-2, 228, 4.6, NJ) - 58 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 9 sacks as a junior.  

Offers: 12+ including TN, GAT, WISC, MICHST, RUT, PITT, BC, UNC.
Official Visit: 12/7
Recruiter: Webster
Ranking: Top 50

(SAM) Xavier Rainey (6-5, 228, 4.65, GA) - Great physical specimen. 180 tackles, 50 tfl and 20+ sacks as a senior.

Official Visit: 11/30
Offers: UNC, GAT, TUL, DUKE, MISSST
Ranking: Top 25 in GA
Recruiter: Brewer
 

(MIKE) Victor Worsley (6-2, 228, 4.6, NC) - Victor is a big hitter that made over 600 tackles in his career and caused over 15 fumbles the last two years. In his junior year, Victor recorded 126 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.

Offers: UNC, BC, CLEM, ECU, DUKE and WF.
Recruiter: Browning
Ranking: Top 50

(WILL) Tommy Richardson (6-4, 208, 4.55, Miami, FL) - A bone crushing headhunter who has the size and frame to end up as a 6-4, 235 OLB.  80 tackles and 4 interceptions as a senior.

Official Visit: 12/7
Recruiter: Broadway
Offers: UNC, AUB, MD, IOWST and RUT
Ranking: Top 50 (Jax paper ranked him the #1 OLB in Florida)

Remaining Board:
1.  AJ Nicholson (6-2, 228, 4.6, NC) - AJ's father, Darrell, stared at LB for Carolina during the Crum era. AJ's favorite team growing up was Carolina and has stated that it has always been his dream to play for UNC. Committed to UNC very early this summer, but decided to he wanted to take some other visits to see what is out there.  Last season, for Winston-Salem, Mt. Tabor, he had 160 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

Offers: 40+
Official visits: TX 11/10, FSU 1/11, MIA 1/18, TN 1/25, UNC 2/2
Recruiter: Browning
Ranking: Top 5
Projection: UNC if you listen to the "inside word" from those that know his dad; whoever gives him the best shot to win 4 national championships if you listen to AJ himself.

2. Bobby Carpenter (6-3, 235, 4.6, OH) - Father Rob played for the New York Giants and Houston Oilers in the NFL. Visited UNC officially on 11/30 and after his UNC and OSU visits told one service that OSU led and another that UNC led.

Offers: 12+ including OSU, UNC, MICHST, NW, ND, STAN
Visits: OSU 11/16, UNC 11/30, MICHST 1/11
Ranking: Top 20
Recruiter: Tenuta
Projection: Ohio State

Strong Safety
Defonté Coleman will be a senior and Marcus Jones departed prematurely this summer.

Target Number: 1

Commitment:
Rashaad Tindall (6-4, 190, 4.5, NC) - Has only played football for two years. A big-time headhunter with a nasty disposition and a reckless playing style. As a junior he made 50 tackles, 10 TFL, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions as a LB and 15 catches for 300 yards and 8 tds as a WR. If he doesn't grow into an OLB, has plenty of athleticism for the SS spot as evidenced by his 39' 5" vertical and 6'6" long jump. 

Offers: UNC, FL, NCSU, WF, ECU
Recruiter: Bunting

Cornerback/Athletes
UNC has only four scholarship CBs, with two being seniors in 2002, making CB a spot where someone can step in and play right away.  (Note: several of the key targets project nearly equally as well at either WR or CB, so it is likely that UNC will try to sign 4 and put 3 at CB and 1 at WR)

Target Number: 4

Commitments:
Cedric Holt (6-0, 195, 4.45, NC) - Last year, Cedric made 8 interceptions and scored 5 touchdowns for Anson County on his way to all-conference honors. Camped at UNC this summer and impressed UNC DB coach Jon Tenuta with his cover skills.  Grades issues could push his ultimate enrollment to 03/04. NC-SC Shrine Bowl starter - was reportedly impressive in practices.

Offers: UNC, ECU, WF
Recruiter: Tenuta

Michael Gilmore (6-1, 180, 4.45, SC) - May be the best "pure CB" on the board.  Was all but wrapped up for GAT before O'Leary's departure, but has since told one service that he planned to commit to UNC on his official visit.

Official Visit: 1/1
Offers: GAT, UNC, MD, WF, VAT
Ranking: Top 50
Recruiter: Browning

Jacobi Watkins (6-1, 170, 4.4, NC) - Scotland County CB who made the NC-SC shrine bowl and all-conference as a junior and senior. 10 interceptions as a senior.

Offers: UNC, CLEM, ECU, DUKE
Recruiter: Tenuta

Remaining Board:
AJ Davis (5-11, 175, 4.35, NC) - WR/CB prospect.  Last year for Northern Durham, AJ made 26 tackles, 6 interceptions  (3 returned for TDs), and 10 TDs as a receiver, and 2 punt return TDs. He is also the current state champion in the high jump, long jump and the triple jump. His cousin Donnie Davis was an outstanding high school quarterback in Burlington and went on to play in college at Georgia Tech. A. J. intends to run track in college and any school that will not allow him to participate in both sports will not be considered. Northern Durham has produced several outstanding players for the University of North Carolina including current players Andre Williams and Kory Bailey, former payers Sherrod and Jason Peace, and David Bomar. Additionally, current Carolina Assistant Coach Ken Browning was the Northern Durham Head Football coach for many years. Visited UNC for the FSU game and visited NCSU for the UNC-NCSU game but came to UNC's locker room post game. Visited UNC unofficially on 12/16 for football practice and a basketball game.

Offers: 40+
Official Visits: ND 11/4, FSU 11/30, TN 1/11, UNC 1/18, NCSU 1/25
Ranking: Top 5
Recruiter: Browning
Projection: ?????

Free Safety
With the graduation of Billy Dee Greenwood and the pre-mature departure of Jovon Lewis this summer, FS is a spot that could use another player or two.

Target Number: 2

Commitment:
Duante Fields (6-1, 160, 4.5, Miami, FL) - WR(will start there)/FS prospect. 50 tackles and 6 interceptions on defense and 35-800-12 as a WR. Also has 2 tds on returns. 

Offers: WISC, VAT, UNC, BC, RUT, IAST, VANDY, MARSH
Official Visit: 11/30
Recruiter: Broadway
Ranking: Top 60
 
Remaining Board:
Nate Salley (6-3, 190, 4.4, Miami, FL) - Top safety prospect and also a star HS basketball player (wants to double in college). 72 tackles as a junior and 70 more as a senior. Currently lists MIA and UNC as his top two.

Offers: MIA, UNC, NCSU, MICHST, OSU, +
Official Visits: MICHST 12/14, NCSU 1/11, OSU 1/18, UNC 1/25, MIA ?
Recruiter: Broadway
Ranking: Top 25
Projection: UNC

Kicker/Punter
Blake Ferguson's premature departure and Jeff Reed's graduation make K/P a position of need.

 

Commitment:
David Wooldridge (6-3, 200, NC)  - Davie County K/P whose only HS misses have come from 45+ yards and more than 70% of his kickoffs are touchbacks.  Averaged a whopping 44.9 yards/punt as a senior. Committed to UNC over offers from WF and DUKE and heavy interest from NCSU and VA.


Inside Carolina Top Stories