Whitley Awaiting Word From UNC

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Richmond County tailback Norman Whitley was arguably the top performer in the 69th annual Shrine Bowl on Saturday. Still, he remains scratching his head. What does he have to do to get more collegiate offers?

Sure, East Carolina wants him. So did North Carolina earlier in the year. But now the Tar Heels are in a scholarship crunch with a bevy of potential ball carriers already locked down for 2006.

"My goal was to go down there and put on the performance like I did," Whitley said. "I felt like I had something to prove, and one was that I was the No. 1 running back down there."

"I know other running backs like Josh Adams had a lot more offers than I had, so I'm like what's going on here?" Whitley said. "So I wanted to prove I was just as good as they are so I can get some offers just like he does."

Granted, the holiday season is a "dead period" for recruiting. And after Whitley rushed for 132 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns last Saturday, his offer sheet might soon grow.

As Inside Carolina reported on Dec. 5, Whitley tried to commit to UNC a couple of weeks ago, only to find out his offer had been put on hold for now.

However the Tar Heels coaches told him they would take another look at him after New Year's. Certainly his Shrine Bowl performance didn't hurt his chances with Carolina.

"They told me they would get back with me in January," Whitley said. "I feel like I caught their attention at a couple of the Shrine Bowl practices, but I don't know if they're still interested or not. I think they're going to get back with me."

Are academics an issue? Whitley says his grades are not a stumbling block.

"Everything is fine," Whitley said. "According to the schools I've talked to, if I tried to enroll tomorrow, I would be eligible."

So for now Whitley will have to spend Christmas wondering what will be. UNC was the first to offer him and is on top of his list should they choose to re-offer.

But at the same time, the Tar Heels are in a tight spot with remaining scholarships. Therefore it may be too late for Whitley to jump on the UNC bandwagon at this point.

Apparently, only time will tell.

"I hope they offer me, but I feel like I'm fighting to get offers," Whitley said. "That's why I don't understand. I work so hard at the combines and I would think that I would have more offers.

"I like Carolina," he said. "I feel like with the talent that I have I can fit into the Carolina program. I'm good friends with Tavares Brown, so it's not like I wouldn't know anybody. I'm interested in Carolina. But is Carolina interested in me?

"There are a bunch of programs out there that I like, but I have to go with the one that wants me. Right now, if someone else was to offer and I liked it, I would jump on it. It's like a month away from Signing Day and I don't want to wait around for a school and then they never offer. Then I would have nowhere to go.

"They told me they don't have exactly enough scholarships or that they're holding a certain number of scholarships for other people. There may be two or three that won't be eligible because of grades, and they told me if they don't grade out, then they will give me a call, have me come back up and re-offer.

"My biggest concern is how long do I have to wait?"

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