Heels Maintain Lead For Ga. LB

North Carolina looks to add at least one more linebacker to their 2006 recruiting class and has several talented options.

Along with Brandon Spikes, Navorro Bowman, and Jarrell Miller, Vandaral Shackleford, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker from Riverdale (Ga.), finds his name high on the Tar Heels' recruiting board at linebacker. The difference between Shackleford and the three aforementioned four-star recruits is the Heels' standing with the linebacker.

"Right now Carolina is my number one, but I'm still wide open," said Shackleford. "I feel like it's a great program heading in the right direction and they have great facilities."

Shackleford has always been interested in North Carolina's program but began to list the Tar Heels as a leader after attending a senior camp at Chapel Hill in July.

"When I went up there, they showed me a lot of love," said Shackleford. "Once I got up there I felt like I had a great relationship with the coaching staff, especially my position coach – Coach [Tommie] Thigpen."

Shackleford's relationship with Coach Thigpen continues to grow as both converse frequently.

"I just talked to Coach Thigpen last week," said Shackleford. "He was just telling me good luck. He also came to my school last Friday. He came and talked to my coach. He came down because he thought we were going to play Friday, but we played Saturday."

A topic that has dominated most of their latest conversations is official visits. Although Shackleford is holding off on taking officials, he has a pretty good idea of which schools will receive one.

"Yea [we've talked about official visits], but I'm going to wait until the offseason to get that lined up," said Shackleford. "I know I'm going to [take official visits] to Miami of Ohio, I know I'm probably going to go to Duke, I'm thinking about East Carolina but I don't know yet."

For now, Shackleford will focus on unofficial visits, with Georgia and North Carolina being possible future destinations.

With Shackleford patrolling sideline-to-sideline, Riverdale is off to a 4-0 start to their 2005 season. Shackleford kicked off his senior season with nine tackles in the first game, but has since seen his production decrease as teams run plays away from him.


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