Heels Get QB Commitment

The Tar Heels received a commitment on Sunday night from a relatively unknown quarterback from Marietta (Ga.) Pope High School. T.J. Yates, 6-5, 200, slipped under the national recruiting radar because he missed the spring combines and summer camps this year, but has shown tremendous promise through the first eight games of the season.

"The whole process went extremely fast," Yates' mother, Carol, said Tuesday morning. "They weren't even recruiting us, a bunch of other schools were.

"Coach Thigpen was very excited and you don't know what to expect. All the coaches were off on Saturday, so they got together on Sunday. All eleven coaches did, called us at about five or six which T.J. accepted in a nano-second."

The Tar Heel staff was even hoping Yates could get a head start and arrive early in Chapel Hill.

"They apparently have a good quarterback situation, and they needed a big quarterback who is also agile and can run, which he has had to do this year," she said. "They wanted him to graduate in December, come on up and get involved in spring training and be ready to go in the fall. But he can't do it because he has to take a class."

Missing last spring and summer's camps and combines because of traveling with his basketball AAU team, Yates isn't well known yet, but Pope coach Bob Swank has no doubt about the talents of Yates' talents, who has thrown for nearly 1,800 yards over the first eight games of the season.

"He's a bona fide Division 1 quarterback," Swank said. "He's just late getting started with recruiting."

When Swank arrived at Pope this past spring, his fellow coaches told him that Yates, who wasn't on he football team the previous season, was a hidden gem.

"Certainly when I got here last spring and the coaches said 'We need to get T.J. Yates on the team,' I never realized he was this good," Swank told the Daily Journal. "I mean, I knew he was a quarterback that would help our program, but I didn't realize he was a major college prospect. We're for­tunate that we just talked to each other and agreed to play and have him play."

The Yates' will take their first full visit to Chapel Hill this coming weekend for the UNC-Virginia game.

Inside Carolina will have more on this developing situation, including exclusive footage of Yates in action later this week.

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