Massenburg 'Doing Great'

CHATHAM, Va. – OK, so North Carolina ‘05 signee Darrius Massenburg has become an '06 commit prepping this season at Hargrave Military Academy. It's not an unprecedented route followed to success, especially by many current and former Tar Heels. During the Tigers' media day on Friday, Massenburg wanted all UNC fans to know he's doing just fine.

"I wasn't too upset," Massenburg said. "This is all a learning experience…anything to make me better."

Of course he was disappointed when he found out his post-high school GPA was not high enough to qualify for entry at Carolina this fall. And he was pretty sure he would be going to Hargrave shortly after he graduated from Roanoke Rapids in June.

"Hargrave was recommended to me," he said.

So he quietly went to work for the city cutting grass, emptying trash cans and working odd jobs in the sweltering summer heat while he fielded calls from the media about his scholastic status.

Then on Aug. 11, he joined many other Division I hopefuls from all over who were in the same boat as he.

"It's really like we're all brothers," Massenburg said.

Welcome to boot camp with Coach Robert Prunty – the no nonsense and loyal keeper of some of college football's finest late bloomers. The first thing that Prunty and the HMA administration affect on a new class is change.

In the two weeks he's been on campus, Massenburg has gone from 280 pounds to 260.

"We ran that night we got here," Massenburg said. "Coach Prunty is a real straight forward man and I really like that. He's not going to sugarcoat how you're playing or how you're performing. He tells you how it is and how you can be better. The coaching staff here is great. Everybody works with you."

"Darrius is doing great," Hargrave assistant Ryan Sulkowski added. "Some guys will come in out of shape and not work out. The first thing we said about Darrius is he took this thing seriously. And he still is the best looking guy. He's like a thoroughbred – he runs and runs and runs. You never see him winded and he's always got a smile on his face."

Massenburg said he doesn't feel like he's on an island, but rather more like he's already a Tar Heel and just working through a redshirt season. He's good friends with Kentwan Balmer and Melik Brown, who along with the UNC coaches, stay in touch to make him feel like he's already a part of the Carolina family.

"A lot of them explained to me how Hargrave was and how for them to come to Carolina they had to do it," Massenburg said. "They told me don't be upset that you have to go to Hargrave; it's a good place to get the things that you need for the college level. They just explained to me, ‘Keep your head up and don't let things get you down.'"

Massenburg is also familiar with '06 commitment Ed Barham and admits he was surprised UNC found out about him and that he's going to be a future teammate.

"I thought he would stay at home and go to Virginia or somewhere like that," Massenburg said of Barham. "He's funny. I didn't expect him to do the things that he did. He's a pretty athletic guy."


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