Long is an old friend of UNC running backs coach Andre' Powell, who in turn sold offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill on Waters. The two then went to John Bunting who basically said, "'If Powell and Tranquill want him, then let's go get him,'" Long paraphrased.
R.J. Waters, 6-foot, 210 pounds, is the all-time leading rusher at Patrick Henry (Ashland, Va.) with 4,217 career yards and 61 touchdowns. As a senior in a two-feature back set, he ran for 1,516 yards and 25 scores, earning him second-team all-conference honors.
Waters, who also starred on the track team, has been consistently clocked at 4.5 seconds over 40 yards, according to his coach.
"He might run a 4.4 at one time or another," Long said. "His all-purpose yards put him well over 5,000 yards. And we run a two-back set, so it wasn't like he was getting the ball all the time.
"His acceleration when he gets into the gaps – when he hits the hole – is faster than any other kid I've ever coached, and I've had some pretty good ones here. He's what I call a downhill runner. He doesn't do a lot of shaking and baking, he just squares his shoulders up. I used to call him my ‘first down getter.'"
Due to his earlier academic situation, Waters never received any other Division I offers, although Long said Maryland was extremely interested in him as well as numerous I-AA schools.