Montgomery Declares UNC a 'Big Dog'

At the request of his coaches, Sam Montgomery reluctantly took the day off and accompanied his Greenwood (S.C.) teammates on an unofficial visit to North Carolina Monday. To his surprise, he walked away thoroughly impressed.

"I saw a lot of things about UNC that I never knew that existed," Montgomery said. "It definitely raises them up on the bar a lot for what UNC brings to the table for me… Everything that was said had proof. It had nice people there, nice community, and it's a place where you can get a good education."

Heading into the visit, Montgomery, who holds between 30-40 scholarship offers, wasn't considering UNC.

"At first, I was hearing some things about UNC that just made me not even want to go up there," Montgomery said. "But now I can't wait to get back – I really can't. I wish I could find a way up there.

"It's a really nice place. The people that I met there they seem like real people, they seem like they can help me get to the next level, and also help me get an education."

Montgomery doesn't want to announce a true favorites list until he makes more visits. However, his Chapel Hill visit has evaluated UNC into a nearly untouchable state in his mind.

"I'd say UNC is with the ‘Big Dogs,'" Montgomery said. "If I had to make a ‘Big Dog List,' they'd be on the ‘Big Dog List.'

"UNC is on the ‘Big Dog List' not because of what was said but from what I saw myself and what I believe I can do to help myself get better."

According to Montgomery, schools that make the "Big Dog List" are schools that will remain under consideration until he announces his collegiate destination on National Signing Day.

"If you're on the ‘Big Dog List' you have nothing to worry about," Montgomery said.

UNC isn't alone on the "Big Dog List." A second unrevealed school also finds itself on the list. Furthermore, Montgomery figures to add several more schools to the "Big Dog List" between now and Signing Day.

"It's all about what [a school] can bring to the table from an education standpoint, if I feel as though they really need me on the field, and community support," Montgomery said.

During his stay at UNC, Montgomery toured the campus where he took pictures, and spoke to professors and other members of the academic staff. His most impactful experience came when the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end met defensive line coach John Blake.

"He's an experienced guy who knows what he's talking about," Montgomery said. "With my work ethic – the way I push myself in the classroom and on the field – I'm sure that it would be very easy for me to get into the [National Football] league under his guidance."

In addition to UNC, Montgomery has unofficially visited Clemson and South Carolina. He's hoping to make another trip to UNC over the summer as well as visits to Duke, Florida State, and N.C. State.

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