UNC Coaches Key for Sabino

When Etienne Sabino narrowed his list of options down a couple of weeks ago, the relationship he has built with the North Carolina coaching staff was a key reason he included the Tar Heels on his final list.

"They can really relate to you," said Sabino, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker from Miami (Fla.) Krop. "They're real down to earth. They're real cool people and they're easy to get along with. They crack jokes all the time.

"All the players say [the coaches] are real cool people and they never change. You go to some of these schools and some of the players say when the coaches recruited them they were all cool and whether. And then they got there, they acted like they didn't know them. [The UNC coaches] seem to be real people; they're not phony."

Also making Sabino's cut were Florida, Georgia Tech, Miami, Ohio State, Tennessee, and USC.

Since the NCAA banned the use of text messages by recruiters, Sabino has been keeping in contact with coaches via email and phone calls.

"I would say for the most part Ohio State, Florida, Miami, and North Carolina I keep in contact with the most," said Sabino.

Approximately three days ago, Sabino called and spoke with John Blake, his UNC primary recruiter.

"He says they really want me," said Sabino. "He said if I play to my potential I can play any of their three linebacking positions. He said there's a great opportunity for me to play there."

Sabino's next step with recruiting is scheduling and taking official visits. This weekend he will officially visit USC for the Idaho game. He is also close to finalizing a date with Ohio State for November 3rd when the Buckeyes host Wisconsin.

"The other three are still up in the air," said Sabino, who has already visited UNC twice this year. "North Carolina is in the drawing; Tennessee is in the drawing; Florida is in the drawing – there are a few schools that are in the drawing. I haven't made up my mind about the other three visits, though."

Sabino figures to have his entire official visits schedule mapped out within the next few weeks.

With a December graduation looming, Sabino plans to have his college decision made in November -- with a heavy emphasis placed on his official visit experiences.

"Just the comfort of the players," said Sabino. "Just how comfortable I feel around them. I'm going to talk to the players and try to get their input. I'm going to [also] talk to the coaches and continue to get to know them."

Throughout the fall, though, Sabino's senior football season will take precedence.

"My main focus is my team and my senior year," said Sabino. "I'm trying to go out and end it big. My main focus is my team and my people."

With a solid group of seniors and juniors, expectations are high at Krop High School.

"I feel that if we play to our potential, we shouldn't lose any games," said Sabino. "That's how I feel personally. I think we're a good football team and I think we can go far."

Sabino moves around throughout the linebacking corps, but his primary position is WILL (weakside).

"They basically put me in the position to make plays," said Sabino. "They have a few blitzes for me – I'll come off the edge or up the middle."

Sabino said he will also see a little time at tight end this fall.

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