McNeil 'Loves' Carolina

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The UNC coaches coaches may have been focused on their eight verbals and more highly coveted uncommitted players this week at Shrine Bowl practice, but Beaufort East Carteret senior Antoinne McNeil certainly has Carolina on his mind.

Antoinne McNeil, a cornerback/tailback, played under state high school coaching veteran and N.C.'s defensive coordinator Donnie Kiefer. It was Kiefer who coached current UNC defensive back Trimane Goddard while at Robersonville Roanoke. McNeil, at six-foot, 174 pounds, is a versatile athlete and multi-sport star with blazing speed.

"Antoinne is a heck of a player," Kiefer told Inside Carolina on Friday. "He has legit 4.3 speed, jumps very well and is an excellent cover corner. On offense we played him as a slot receiver and he could play wide receiver in college due to his good size.

"Academically, he's going to have to make some strides to play at UNC, but it's possible."

McNeil is the only player from his school to ever be elected to play in the Shrine Bowl.

"Having been here, I respect the Shrine Bowl a lot more knowing what it's all about," McNeil said. "It's a real big honor and a real big experience."

The Tarheels take on the Sandlappers of S.C. in a battle between the best high school football players in the Carolinas on Saturday, as the 69th annual Shrine Bowl kicks off at 1:00 p.m. from Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College.

McNeil, who currently holds offers from East Carolina and Mars Hill, said he expects to talk with UNC recruiting coordinator Brad Lawing following the game about setting up an official visit to Chapel Hill.

In the meantime, he's been getting to know the UNC commits just in case.

"It's a great group of guys," McNeil said. "I'm ready to play with them and I would love to play with them."

An impressive performance on Saturday can only help him to reach his goal.

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