Mapp Ready to Prove Critics Wrong

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- When Durell Mapp picked up the Sporting News football preview this summer, he was intrigued to learn that North Carolina had no ACC-caliber talent at the linebacker position. The former walk-on has grown accustomed to being overlooked, and plans to change those opinions once and for all during his final season as a Tar Heel.

"I was actually kind of hurt at first," Mapp said about reading the preview. "I was mad – outraged - because I can't believe they really said that. I thought I had been doing a pretty good job out here, but I guess I've got to do a little bit more."

The senior was a late qualifier out of Burlington (N.C.) Cummings High School, and performed well at several summer combines at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, which caught former head coach John Bunting's attention. Mapp was invited to walk-on at Carolina several days later.

After a solid freshman season, primarily on special teams, Mapp was awarded a full scholarship for his efforts, providing him with a sense of pride.

"That was one obstacle I overcame," Mapp said. "I proved that I am [Division I] material, and that I was really overlooked coming out of high school. It felt great – I still don't want to stop, though, not just because I'm here. I'm happy that I got my scholarship, but after that it was playing time, then starter – stuff like that."

Mapp spent his second year as a Tar Heel in the Kenan Center's film room, working on the mental aspects of the game to compliment his physical abilities. It worked – he started the final six games of the 2005 season, and led the team with 87 tackles last fall.

Mapp said he plans to use the preseason preview as bulletin board material this fall.

"Definitely – if not for the locker room, just for myself," Mapp said. "Everybody has a different way of getting themselves motivated. That actually can get me motivated, because I like to prove people wrong.

"It's just been a continuous fight, a continuous struggle. I just have to go out here and prove myself – seems like every day."

The projected started at weakside linebacker also knows the media picked the Tar Heels to finish fifth in the Coastal Division, but he's never let other people's opinions affect him much – he has his own plans for the 2007 season.

"To win some games – definitely to win some games," Mapp said. "Go to a bowl game that really means something. The ACC Championship – that's always on my mind."

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