Roanoke Rapids Celebrates Massenburg's Signing

When Darrius Massenburg signed his Letter of Intent Wednesday morning to attend North Carolina, it was a celebrated achievement not just for Massenburg, but for Roanoke Rapids High School and the community as a whole.

"In my ten years, this is our first [ACC] scholarship we've signed," said head coach Tim Bennett. "I know he's going to represent our school and community in a great way. This is a great day for all of us."

The last time Roanoke Rapids had a player sign with an ACC school? 1988.

"It feels great," Massenburg said. "It feels like I have accomplished something and now have the weight lifted off my shoulders."

Bennett continued to praise the character of the new Tar Heel.

"Darrius is one of the finest young men we've had in our program. We're very proud of him -- he's worked extremely hard -- and he's very deserving. He's just a fine young man. He's been a leader -- voted team captain this year by his peers -- he works had, is a good person and his best football is definitely ahead of him. He's got a bright future."

The 6-4, 255-pound standout projects at defensive end, where Bennett says he fits best.

"The coaches at Carolina feel they can put 20 pounds of muscle on him and start him out at D-End," Bennett said. "He's got a big frame and can add a lot of weight. They're going to start him outside. That's his position - coming off the edge.

"Our opponents always ran away from him and he did a good job of making quite a few tackles chasing them them down from the backside. He's got great change of direction."

The only step left now for Massenburg is to close out the year strong from an academic standpoint.

"He's close," Bennett said. "He's working extremely hard to be at Carolina in August. We feel like he's on track to be a Tar Heel for the '05 season."

Massenburg said he's taking a psychology class at a local college and also is focused on a french class -- "It's looking real good," he added, noting his eagerness to get started with UNC's bridge academic program.

"Now I've got my foot in the door," Massenburg said. "Right now there's nothing to it but finishing out strong to be a Tar Heel for sure next year."

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