A Chip Off the Old Block

Just like that, on Signing Day 2006, North Carolina received a grey-shirt commitment which will count against its ‘07 class. Graduating Buford (Ga.) senior Justin Curry, the son of former UNC all-conference linebacker and NFL veteran Buddy Curry, has accepted a offer to play football for the Tar Heels.

"Grey-shirt" is a term used when a player's scholarship becomes effective in January instead of the previous August. Among Curry's options until then, he can pay his own way into UNC and go ahead and enroll this summer or fall, or he can choose to play football at a prep school.

He's already used up his high school eligibility, but because Curry is just 17 years old and played behind a standout teammate as a junior, he wasn't a highly sought after '06 prospect.

Like his father, who holds the UNC single season record for tackles with 171 in 1979, the younger Curry is all about production. When he got his chance for more playing time as senior, he dominated his team's defensive stat sheet with 100 tackles – 12 for loss, 16 sacks and over 20 quarterback hurries for the 12-1 Wolves – four-time defending Region 8AA Champions.

"UNC took a long hard look at him this fall," Buford coach Jess Simpson said on Thursday. "Justin's a 17-year-old senior with a huge upside. He wasn't highly recruited because he had a really good player in front of him as a junior. Then people started getting on him."

Curry is a rugged 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, obviously cut from the same mold as his father.

"Justin's an extremely explosive and hard-nosed kid," Simpson said. "He's very strong, very athletic and has great hips."

Simpson said Curry runs 40 yards in the "4.6 to 4.7-(second) range."

"I think he'll play rush end or SAM linebacker at UNC," Simpson said. "He runs well enough to play either."

Curry chose Carolina over an offer from Georgia Southern, but Simpson said it's his potential that the Tar Heels are most impressed with.

"He really liked Georgia Southern and there were others that were talking to him, but he really didn't have a bunch of video or stats coming out of the previous season."

"His greatest attribute is he has a great motor and a great burst," Simpson said.

Curry was named a Gwinnett TD Club & Gwinnett Daily Post Defensive Line first-teamer and first-team defense by the Gainesville Times.

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