Handerson: 'I Just Got a Feeling at [UNC]'

New 2006 Tar Heel commitment Zack Handerson grew up in Alabama before moving to the Sunshine State. He rooted for the Crimson Tide and knows all about the annual rivalry game with Auburn – or the "Iron Bowl," as it's called.

The avid basketball player and fan said he's also heard about the North Carolina-Duke rivalry as well. But now he's anxious to learn more about the hot territorial gridiron enmity that exists between UNC and NC State.

Handerson, a rangy 6-7, 265-pound offensive tackle, never played a lick of organized football until he was a freshman at Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail

"I've played basketball since I was about 10 years old, but the only football I had played was flag football, and that doesn't really count," said Handerson, who played tight end early in his career, but made the move to his more natural college position of offensive tackle.

"Having played so much basketball, I think that contributes a lot to my footwork," he said. "That is really why I was so heavily recruited. I'm a little underweight for an offensive tackle, but most schools wanted me because of my quick feet."

Last year as a junior, he didn't give up a single sack and graded out at 96 percent as his team finished 9-3 in 2004.

When he arrived at the Tar Heels camp last weekend, Handerson had already visited Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt. He admittedly considered the Gators and Bulldogs as his leaders, but that was about to change.

"I just got a feeling at North Carolina that I didn't get at these other camps," Handerson said. "I just like the surroundings. And I like the balance between academics and athletics they have at North Carolina…that other schools claim to have, but can't exactly back up.

"That's what really drew me to North Carolina."

On Thursday, Handerson let the UNC coaches know he wanted to be a Tar Heel.

"Another reason I committed to North Carolina is Coach [Hal] Hunter," he said. "He's a great guy. I react to his coaching style better than I've ever reacted to any other coach's style. He's not a yeller and a screamer – he's a teacher. I respond better to that."

Handerson is ranked by FloridaKids among the Top 10 offensive lineman in the state and No. 85 overall.

Zackery Handerson Profile

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