Up Close: Greg Little, Part I

DURHAM, N.C. --- Talking to North Carolina 2007 signee Greg Little comes easy now. From the high-profile prospect who once called a press conference and didn't say anything, comes an engaging persona hidden during his recruitment except to closest friends and family. And soon, fans across the entire country will get to know Little a lot better.

  • Part II

    Next month, the soon-to-be Tar Heel will begin filming for a starring role in the reality TV series "ESPN Summer House" along with five other of the nation's rising freshmen. For 10 days, the group will move into a Manhattan condo owned by former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman, and they will participate in different activities for charity.

    Others in the cast include Carlos Dunlap (Florida) and Chris Galippo (USC) – both five-star prospects.

    The time and date for the show's airing has not been announced.

    Little said he has received approval of the venture by Tar Heel head coach Butch Davis, but that they are still in the process of discussing the details.

    "I just told him about it," said Little, who will still be able to enroll at UNC for the second summer session.

    He will wear the No. 8 jersey at UNC.

    Little, one of the nation's top wide receiver prospects, chose Carolina over Notre Dame just hours before joining 11 other of his college bound teammates in a crowded Hillside gymnasium ceremony on Feb. 6. The dramatic decision capped one of the Tar Heels' most promising recruiting classes in years, as Little slipped a white UNC baseball cap from underneath the curtained table and proceeded to send his letter of intent to the Kenan Football Center.

    During the tense months leading up to Signing Day, Little waged a constant internal battle over his decision while keeping his feelings concealed in front of a media blitz.

    "You're like, ‘What if this doesn't go right here? Or what if that doesn't go right here?'" Little said. "It was kind of a fault on my part to let (Notre Dame) know so late. But I can live with that knowing that I made the right decision, instead of living with the wrong decision."

    Now the phone calls from coaches and reporters have slowed down considerably.

    "It's been a crazy ride and I'm glad it's over with," said his father, Greg Sr. "In the final analysis, I don't think he could have made a bad decision. I was a little surprised. I would have thought that he was going to venture a little farther, but I'm glad he's staying close by."

    The burden lifted off his shoulders allows Little to resemble more of himself socially now. It also enables a more concentrated focus on his endless regimen of speed training and his routine of catching about 600 balls a day from the throwing machine.

    "To know that this is where I'm at now and I have to stick with it, it's kind of relieving," Little said. "I can't say, ‘If this doesn't work…' -- I'm going to make it work."

    Little traces his rise to notoriety to his sophomore and junior seasons.

    "I got a letter in the mail inviting me to go to the Army All-American game in San Antonio," Little said. "I was like, ‘Coach, we might want to check this out.' And he said, ‘OK, let's go.' So we got four guys together and went there – Mike Johnson (Tulsa), John Smith (UNC), Tyree Bullock (Tulsa) and myself.

    Already a veteran of exposure on the local combine circuit, Little knew going in that he was going to have to put in extra effort to get noticed among the nation's top 500 college prospects in attendance.

    "I was really focused and wasn't really chatting with people," Little said. "I was just visualizing what I had to do."

    After a first day primarily of measurements, in which Little registered at 6-2, 205, he could only do 14 reps on the bench press the second day, and he didn't run the 40 he wanted to either.

    "I knew my bench wasn't that high, and I ran about a 4.62," he said. "I went in the next day, and I had my headset on listening to some rock and roll music, because I knew I had to pick it up."

    During the on-the-field phases of the combine, Little made the most of his visit. Although he admits it wasn't fair to other participants, he would cut in line to catch more passes than the other receivers. During breaks, he would seek out a quarterback and a cornerback to work out with.

    The coaches took notice, and from that point on Little said his recruitment took off.

    "While everybody else is resting, you've got to be working," Little said. "I was going to do whatever it took to stand out."

    Stay tuned for Part II coming tomorrow…

    Greg Little Profile

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