Up Close: Nick Cangelosi

<I>Inside Carolina</i> recruiting writer Andy Britt is touring the countryside to visit each UNC football commitment. Look for his unique two-part profiles all season long. Today – quarterback Nick Cangelosi.

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- When North Carolina football commitment Nick Cangelosi was in the eighth grade, he and his twin brother were the leaders of a 16-0 team ranked 49th in the nation…in basketball.

Since then, Nick and Eric Cangelosi have led Camden Catholic High School to a 70-13 record on the hardwood, including a state championship in 2000-2001.

Nick averaged over 15 points per game last year. Unfortunately, Eric's career has been slowed by a torn ACL that he suffered back on Jan. 29.

But Irish football coach Dennis Scuderi had something else in mind when the two arrived on campus in 1999. He asked them to come out for football.

Nick had never played organized football before in his life.

"My brother and I came here to play basketball," Cangelosi said. "We were really getting recruited by high schools. There was this team in Philly that was offering to pay for us to go to high school, which is kind of absurd. But coming in here, Coach Scuderi said we had the size and speed and asked us to play football.

"At first we didn't want to because we had a really good basketball team here, but I decided to give it a shot."

Not being used to hard physical contact and considering his size and athleticism, Scuderi decided to take a look at Cangelosi as a backup quarterback.

He was impressed immediately.

"When we saw him throw the ball, we just shook our heads," Scuderi said. "Now we just had to teach him the game. He had great instincts and he was a very good athlete.

"In his sophomore year we threw him into the fire as the starter, and he has really taken off ever since."

Around that time, Scuderi remembers having a conversation with his parents about Cangelosi's athletic future.

"It's funny, because when he was a sophomore I told his parents, ‘Don't be surprised if Nick gets a lot of Division I football offers in two years,'" Scuderi said. "They kind of looked at me a chuckled a little bit. I said, ‘I'm telling you, the kid is going to be a monster.'"

By his junior year, Cangelosi was fulfilling his coach's prophecy. He threw for 2,125 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2001, setting a school record for completion percentage.

This year, the Irish (8-0) clinched the first-ever Burlington/Olympic Conference National Division title on Nov.1. by defeating Burlington Township, 48-12. Camden Catholic begins play in the New Jersey state sectionals on Friday.

Cangelosi has thrown for over 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2002.

He has had the privilege of throwing the ball to three outstanding receivers in Byron Williams, Terrell Smith and Bob O'Brien. The Irish passing attack has also paved the way for an excellent season by junior tailback Quran Barge.

Williams, Camden Catholic's other Division I prospect, will not be joining Cangelosi and linebacker Joe Kedra in Chapel Hill. He has yet to make his decision, listing Iowa and Rutgers as his frontrunners.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow…

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