Up Close: Hunter Furr

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. --- North Carolina commitment Hunter Furr had the best sophomore season you haven't heard about – 1,842 yards and 30 touchdowns on 216 carries (8.5-yard average). The 6-foot, 210-pound tailback's remarkable season played out in obscurity at Forsyth Country Day School.

"He's explosive," said Barry Stewart, the head coach at Mount Tabor High School, where Furr now attends. "He stands out with his burst of speed. He's larger than most high school ‘backs.

"He's more of an off-tackle to the edge type of a runner. We try to get him out and space and see if anybody can catch him or try to get him one-on-one with somebody out in the open and see if they can on him. He'll definitely lower his shoulder and run over you."

Furr finally emerged onto the recruiting radar when he registered the second best SPARQ rating at the Nike Combine held in Charlotte over a year ago.

A few months later, Furr continued his impressive spring at the Nike Camp held at the University of Miami.

"I was named the most outstanding running back at the camp and picked to the Nike Underclassmen All-American Team," Furr said.

Furr transferred to Mount Tabor prior to this junior season and fit nicely into the Spartans' spread one-back offense.

"Basically, we ran him off-tackle," Stewart said. "We didn't run him up the middle a lot. We felt like if we could get him to the edge – you know get him out in the open space – and have somebody try to tackle him one-on-one that would be best for us."

With Furr as its main offensive weapon, Mount Tabor posted a 12-4 record and made it to the NCHSAA 4AA State Finals, where they lost to Wilmington Hoggard.

Furr ended the season with 1,680 yards and 24 touchdowns on 233 carries. He also had two receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown, and five kick returns for 101 yards.

This coming season, Mount Tabor has high expectations, with Furr – and others – returning. In addition to his tailback and returning duties, Furr will pick up reps at safety.

"I've been to the state finals twice with Mount Tabor," Stewart said. "Against Hoggard this year we saw the same thing that we did against [Greenville] Rose five years ago – their best athletes are on the field playing both sides of the ball.

"We're going to try to give it another shot this coming season."

Furr headed into the spring with scholarship offers from UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest. He was also being strongly pursued by Clemson and received some level of interest from numerous schools throughout the nation.

"He gets a ton of mail," Stewart said. "He gets letters from every school you can imagine."

However, at UNC's Junior Day, Furr ended his recruitment.

"Really, going into the junior day, riding up to Chapel Hill, I had no idea that I was going to commit that day," Furr said. "It pretty much was down between [North] Carolina and Clemson.

"I knew that I would commit before my senior season just to have that out of the way so I can focus on having a great senior season. But I didn't know if it would be now or if it would be the day before the first practice."

Furr ended up verbally committing to Steve Hagen, his recruiting coordinator, at lunch. During halftime of the basketball game, Hagen and Furr informed Butch Davis of Furr's decision.

"It wasn't really something just out of the blue; it was everything that was kind of built in together," Furr said. "It was how great of a person Butch Davis was. I like all the facility expansions that they're doing. It's one of the top five institutions in the country."

After making his commitment to UNC, a Clemson coach contacted Furr.

"He said they would probably come through with an offer pretty soon," Furr said. "But, I just felt like everything was right with Carolina. It was everything I wanted in a school."

Despite the early nature of his pledge, Furr says he won't waver.

"As of right now, I don't think I'm going to take any other visits," Furr said. "I'm 100-percent a Tar Heel; that's where I want to go to school."

UNC first began recruiting Furr last spring while he was still at Forsyth Country Day. He later participated in the Tar Heels' three-day camp.

"I worked out at running back for two days and then at strong safety for the last day of the camp," Furr said. "That's when the old defensive coordinator [Chuck Pagano] saw me, and Coach Hagen and Coach [Kenny] Browning [saw me too].

"I had a great camp for offense. At defense, I did ok at times – I've never played safety. [The coaches] said I had a great camp at running back and I showed promise at safety."

During Mount Tabor's state title run, UNC extended Furr a scholarship offer.

"They were impressed by the season I had," Furr said. "I think, mainly, it might have been the playoff run. I finally got into a good groove during the playoffs and rushed for half my yards during the playoffs."

"[They liked his] size and speed," Stewart said. "They were impressed with what they saw on tape and he's a very, very athletic-looking young man. You can tell that he's put time into the weight room. Seeing his speed on tape and then his physical presence, I think they were very impressed."

UNC primarily recruited Furr as a tailback, but has made it known he could end up playing safety for the Tar Heels.

Stewart wouldn't be surprised to see Furr line up at any one of several positions in the defensive back seven.

"With his speed, he'd be an outstanding outside linebacker or strong safety type and possibly free safety," Stewart said. "He has the speed, vision, and competitiveness to excel at either of those positions."

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