2009 Intro: Rudy Cabral

ASHEVILLE, N.C. --- A.C. Reynolds High School has a rich tradition in football, which includes two 4A State Titles within the past ten years. The Rockets' calling card has always been their aggressive, shutdown defense.

As expected, Reynolds has produced its share of talented defensive players, such as current North Carolina linebacker Chase Rice. Rudy Cabral, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker, is the latest in the line of defensive standouts.

Junior Season Highlights:

"I knew coming to Reynolds for games since I was eight years-old that defense was how Reynolds won games," Cabral said. "It's a lot of pressure [maintaining the reputation], but I go out there and just do what I can."

After earning All-Northwestern Conference and All-Western North Carolina honors as a sophomore, Cabral was awarded Northwestern Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year and was again named to the All-WNC team following his junior season. On the year, he amassed 148 tackles and two interceptions, returning one of his picks for a touchdown.

"He's a very emotional, physical player," Reynolds head football coach Shane Laws said. "He's one of those guys with a lot of energy – he's 100 miles-per-hour all night. When there's a defensive play and they start unpiling, normally No. 44 is going to come out of there somewhere.

"A lot of our kids feed off of him. He makes the other players on our defense better, because they all try to match his energy and his style of play.

"But at the same time he's a very smart player. He understands football. He spends a lot of time studying film. And he's our defensive coach on the field – he's going to get us in the right defense, he's going to line us up, and when we need to make adjustments most of our adjustments go through him. You talk to him almost like he's one of the assistant coaches"

Additionally, Cabral lines up at slot receiver, fullback, and tight end on offense. In 2007, he caught 22 passes for 460 yards and three scores.

"He's a very versatile athlete and as big as he is, he still is pretty mobile and can make plays in space," Laws said.

Cabral's play has built quite a reputation around Western North Carolina. That reputation led John Lovett, North Carolina's area recruiter, to Reynolds.

"He told me before he came across my name he was visiting a couple of other schools and was talking to high school coaches. He told me that three [opposing] coaches from my area recommended me," Cabral said.

UNC isn't the only school to discover Cabral.

"Right now he's getting a lot of interest from pretty much everybody in the south – especially the southeast," Laws said. "Most of the ACC schools have already shown a good bit of interest in him."

Cabral is hearing mostly from Auburn, Clemson, East Carolina, and Illinois, but UNC is recruiting him the hardest.

"I've talked to Coach [John] Lovett on two or three occasions," Laws said. "I feel like the folks at Carolina like him, a lot."

Lovett eventually invited Cabral to UNC's Junior Day, which Cabral quickly accepted.

"It was fun," Cabral said. "It was fun just seeing the campus and being up there with the players and getting to know the coaches."

Before leaving campus, Cabral sat down with Tommy Thigpen, UNC's linebacker coach.

"We had a little individual meeting," Cabral said. "He just talked about stuff that I would need to learn and defensive coverage. He said they're losing a lot of linebackers in 2009."

Cabral also spoke to Lovett regarding the possibility of a UNC scholarship offer.

"He said that they want to get to know me more," Cabral said. "They will come to my school in April or May. He said that they are really interested in me."

Cabral plans to also unofficially visit Auburn, Clemson, and East Carolina. Over the summer, he is looking to camp at Auburn, East Carolina, and UNC.

Rudy Cabral Profile

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