UNC Offers Florida Sleeper

While making his rounds of South Florida schools, North Carolina assistant coach John Blake found a diamond in the rough in Kemal Ishmael and immediately offered a scholarship offer.

"I really like them," Ishmael said of the Tar Heels. "I like the state, I like everything about them. I'm happy that they're recruiting me."

Ishmael, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound athlete from North Miami Beach (Fla.), has also received scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida International, Mississippi State, and Western Michigan.

Although Ishmael is known as a receiving threat for North Miami Beach, he's primarily being recruited as a cornerback.

After seeing reps as a sophomore, Ishmael emerged as the go-to guy catching 30 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded an interception.

Last season, North Miami Beach went 12-1 in Class 6A – Florida's largest classification. Their lone loss came in the third round of the playoffs to Deerfield Beach (Fla.), 21-20. The following week, Deerfield Beach lost in the FHSAA 6A Championship game to the talent-laden Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, 19-14.

Blake discovered Ishmael towards the end of the Evaluation Period.

"He watched me practice and watched my film," Ishmael said. "I guess he was really impressed by what I do and how I practice."

Focused on his upcoming football season, Ishmael has his head coach, Jeff Bertani, handle his recruitment and just update him periodically.

"After spring practice and after our spring jamboree [Bertani] told me [Blake] was very impressed with me," Ishmael said. "That's when he told me [UNC] had offered."

Ishmael has yet to make his first recruiting visit.

Next week, Ishmael, Bertani, and several of his teammates will camp at nearby Florida International. Other than that, Ishmael doesn't foresee any future recruiting trips until after his senior football season.

UNC is among Ishmael's favorite schools.

"I like that they take care of their people," Ishmael said. "One of our coaches graduated from there so he tells us everything that happened [to him while attending UNC]."

Also attractive to Ishmael is Butch Davis, who coached at the University of Miami for six years.

"Coach talks about [Davis] a lot," Ishmael said. "Butch Davis knows how to find talent. If I go there, I'll have to compete for my position… I like competition – it only makes you better."

Ishmae said hel is also favoring Auburn, South Florida, and Western Michigan.

After taking his official visits, Ishmael plans to make his collegiate decision.

"I'm just looking for a place that fits me," Ishmael said. "I don't want to go to a place where I won't play, the defense doesn't fit me, the offense doesn't fit me. I want to go to a place where I will play, I can be a playmaker, help a team, and get a ring."

Ishmael says distance won't "at all" be a factor.

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