Up Close: Joe Kedra, Part II

<I>IC</I> recruiting writer Andy Britt is touring the countryside to visit each and every UNC football commitment. Look for his unique two-part profiles all season long. Today -- the second installment on Joe Kedra.

(Click here for Part I, which ran yesterday.)


CAMDEN, N.J. -- From the start, North Carolina football commitment Joe Kedra spent most of the recruiting process focused on North Carolina -- largely due to the communication lines that were always open.

Like many of his future teammates, the UNC coaches impressed him more than those from any of the other prominent Division I programs that covet Kedra's services.

"My recruiting coordinator was [Jim] Fleming, I talked to Coach Bunting a lot and mostly I talked to Coach [Dave] Huxtable," Kedra said. "But I met all the coaches when I was down there and we became real close."

He said they did not promise immediate playing time, but rather guaranteed intense competition for the right to get on the field. That is something that Kedra thrives on.

"It's so demanding keeping your school grades up and working on the field and lifting weights after school," Kedra said. "You have to push yourself more than you think that you can."

"They told me to expect hard work and a lot of competition," he said. "They have a lot of young guys at the linebacker position. They said, ‘We feel like you are the type of player that can come in and thrive with our coaching staff.'"

And as is the case with even the most advanced superstars, there remains room for improvement in Kedra's game as well.

"He needs to improve on his strength -- not that he is not strong -- and his speed, although he is very quick," Camden head coach Dennis Scuderi said. "But to talk to the [UNC coaches], they think he is going to be 250 pounds when they get a hold of him."

Despite the rebuilding cloud hovering over the current edition of the Carolina football team, Kedra said on Thursday that de-committing is definitely not an option.

When asked if he has been reconsidering his decision, he just shook his head and said, "No way."

Recruiters from Penn State, his second choice, have apparently gotten the message as well.

"They called me and wished me luck, but of course they said I'm welcome to change my mind," Kedra said. "Nebraska hasn't called since I made my decision public."

Need more proof?

Kedra is trying to convince senior defensive ends' Elijah Robinson and Turk McBride of cross-town rival Woodrow Wilson to join him in Chapel Hill. And although wide receiver/defensive back Dorian Bryant does not list UNC on the school's he is considering, Kedra believes there is a chance he could become a Tar Heel as well.

"There's going to be a lot of South Jersey people down there in the next couple of years," Kedra said. "It's a good school. It's nice down there and everybody likes it down there."

He said he does not get caught up in the rumor hoopla surrounding his future and rarely visits the websites and message boards, although he admits his parents do. Kedra is not concerned as much with the 2002 edition of the Tar Heels as he is about completing this season at Camden Catholic undefeated and vying for a state championship.

The Fighting Irish (8-0) defeated Woodrow Wilson earlier this year 10-0, and clinched the first-ever Burlington/Olympic Conference National Division title Friday night by defeating Burlington Township, 48-12.

"It's sweet, being the first team ever to win the title, that's a big thing," Kedra told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "But we have one more goal, to win a state championship, and we have to get a lot better."

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