Up Close: Fonterrian Ingram

ATLANTA – When he was a freshman at McNair High School, North Carolina 2007 commitment Fonterrian Ingram admittedly didn't have his head on straight. But his older brother, Tony, a junior wideout at Middle Tennessee State, toughened him up.

"Fonterrian's come a long ways," said his father, Tim, a truck driver and former Marine. "I can remember when he was a youngster and was first starting out playing ball down at Gresham. He always had good feet, but he was just always so scared. As he got older he started playing ball with his older brother. I think the brother brought the beast out of him.

"I never would have thought he would get a scholarship as a defensive back."

On July 15, Ingram joined safety DaNorris Searcy from nearby Towers High School in verbally accepting a scholarship to play for the Tar Heels. Both Ingram and Searcy boast sub-4.5 40 times, but neither will lay claim, at least publicly, to being the fastest.

"I don't know who's faster," Ingram told Inside Carolina from his living room last week.

Earlier in the day, IC asked Searcy about what the pair will bring to UNC.

"Both of us are real aggressive," Searcy said. "We're ball hungry, so nine times out of 10 we're going to be around the ball."

Ingram said he rang up 137 tackles as a junior, 77 solo and 60 assisted. He also forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had four sacks.

He said he was last clocked at 4.48 over 40 yards.

"I'm quick to hit somebody," Ingram said.

Ingram, 5-10, 185, stays in close contact with UNC assistant Tommy Thigpen, who recruits the Atlanta area for the Tar Heels.

"I like the football program and how it's being taught by Coach Thigpen," Ingram said. "I hope to bring them an ACC championship."

Ingram helped lead the Mustangs to an 8-2 record in 2005, before they fell to Cartersville in the first round of the playoffs.

"When he started up there at McNair, I always thought he was good enough to start as a ninth grader, but the coach wouldn't let him," said Tim Ingram, who has also coached his son. "He had a couple of issues. He was young in the mind. But his brother saw to that. His brother got him straight completely and turned him into that beast that he his on defense.

"His tenacity for the game…he comes home and studies it," the elder Ingram continued. "He really tries to enhance his game and make him better than the next player. Defensively, he refuses to let somebody beat him. That bothers him more than anything.

"When we come home, I talk to him about what he didn't do, while everybody else talks about what he did. I try not to let his head get too ‘swoll up.'"

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