Up Close: Kevin Reddick, Part I

NEW BERN, N.C. --- Kevin Reddick was a silent commitment to North Carolina for several months leading up to his announced decision.

"I gave [Tommy Thigpen] a call during the season and told him that it was where I wanted to go," Reddick said. "It was a point where I was just real comfortable with the coaches. And I'd been up there a couple of times."

Before concluding his UNC official visit in mid-January, Reddick, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker from New Bern High School, made his verbal commitment official during a meeting with Butch Davis.

"Being with the players, just talking to them, just having fun [during my official visit] that sealed the deal for me," Reddick said.

Once the news broke, Reddick fielded phone calls from East Carolina, Michigan State, and Tennessee. The coaching staffs at those three schools wanted to confirm that Reddick was sure of his commitment.

"I knew I wanted to make that decision," Reddick said. "I knew there were other colleges I should have taken visits to, but I was real happy with [UNC]."

South Carolina, on the other hand, went the in-person route sending a few of their coaches to New Bern High School a couple of days after Reddick's pledge.

"He had already had scheduled his official visit for that upcoming weekend," New Bern head football coach Bobby Curlings said. "They just hired a new defensive coordinator so they brought him to share his vision with him and try to still persuade him to come visit their campus. But he was sold on [North] Carolina and told them that he was firm on his commitment."

Reddick was originally offered a verbal scholarship by the John Bunting regime after participating in a summer camp before his junior season. That transaction proved to set the foundation for the eventual verbal commitment.

"He really fell in love with the campus and just the whole atmosphere," Curlings said. "They were one of the first ones to offer and I think that's been his goal the whole time."

Last spring, Reddick received an official scholarship offer sheet from the new staff.

Charlie Williams, UNC's area recruiter, began the Tar Heels' recruiting efforts. However, it was Thigpen, UNC's linebacker coach and a holdover from the previous regime, who handled much of Reddick's recruitment.

"[Reddick] was sold on the program already, but when the new staff came in they continued to recruit him and he got to know Coach Thigpen real well through the recruiting process and developed a good relationship with him," Curlings said. "It just felt right to him the whole time."

Reddick, who said he grew up a Florida Gators fan, made several unofficial visits to UNC during the spring and summer and watched his feelings for UNC grow.

"I don't really know – I just liked them," Reddick said. "I saw that the program was going to get bigger and better. I wanted to be apart of starting it up from the ground up."

In the meantime, other schools began to pursue Reddick, though some immediately fell by the wayside.

"Some schools, particularly out-of-state like Alabama, were on him pretty hot and heavy," Curlings said. "But then I think they realized they were probably spinning their wheels so they backed off on him. A lot of people did that."

Schools like East Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee continued to challenge UNC.

Seeing UNC's potential during the 2007 season helped Reddick decide he wanted to become a Tar Heel.

"As the staff came through and then watching them play – watching them they could have actually won most of the games that they lost," said Reddick. "They could be really good in the future."

Check back tomorrow for Part II …

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