Up Close: Wesley Flagg, Part I

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – North Carolina is looking for speed more so than size in a linebacker these days, and 2006 commitment Wesley Flagg fits the philosophy to a tee.

  • Part II

    The Jack Britt senior suffered a severe left ankle sprain in the first quarter and did not return in last week's loss to Scotland County – the Buccaneers' first setback of the season.

    "We didn't play well, and losing Wesley didn't help us," Bucs' coach Richard Bailey said. "Our tailback rolled up on the back of his leg while he was blocking. He got hurt by ‘friendly fire.'"

    After spending most of Sunday on crutches, Flagg managed to limp down to his coach's office on Monday in order to speak with Inside Carolina. During the visit, Flagg reassured Bailey, "I'll be ready play this week, Coach."

    Bailey arranged for Flagg to receive daily physical therapy treatments this week with a local healthcare provider. Yes, it's that important. You see, Britt hosts Richmond County on Friday. And the Buccaneers (9-1), 2004 state finalists, take their football seriously.

    "Wesley's a tough kid," Bailey said. "If he can play, he'll play."

    Bailey knows he'll need his best player on the field in order to orchestrate a defeat over the perennially powerful Raiders. Already this season, Flagg, who also plays fullback, has gained 117 yards on 15 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns, and he's caught three passes out of the backfield for 100 yards and a score. On defense, Flagg has 59 tackles – 10 for loss, four sacks and two fumble recoveries – one in which he returned for a touchdown.

    His only knock entering this season was his tackling technique. In the past, Flagg preferred to bring down opposing ball carriers by their heads, instead of their feet. But that has changed over the course of this season.

    "He's done a much better job this year of getting leverage and tackling lower," Bailey said.

    At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Flagg is a compact hitting machine. He bench presses 310 pounds and squats 440.

    "He's on the top of the charts right now," Bailey said. "He's one of our ‘Super Bucs.' It would be great if he was 6-3, but that's a little overrated at linebacker. He's got long arms. He's going to be like [Larry Edwards] in that he'll get up to about 235 pounds. He may lose a step – so he'll run a ‘4.5' instead of a ‘4.4.' But he's still going to be faster than any of the other guys out there."

    While visiting the UNC campus this summer, the coaching staff was so shocked after they intitially clocked Flagg over 40 yards, he was asked to run again – and again. Finally, his time was accepted.

    "They were in shock," Flagg said. "They kept asking me how much I weighed."

    When his camp visit was over, John Bunting told him to go home and wait for a phone call. And just like the fifth-year Carolina coach had promised, the call came a few days later with a scholarship offer. Flagg accepted immediately. He then called his mother.

    "I'm still very happy with my decision," he said. "My parents were very happy. My mother cried."

    "I'm just so excited to finally send a kid to Carolina," added Bailey, a self-proclaimed Tar Heels fan.

    Stay tuned for Part II, coming tomorrow…

    Wesley Flagg Profile

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