Holley to visit UNC

<I>Inside Carolina</I> has learned that Jesse Holley, a talented wide receiver, will take an official visit to North Carolina on Jan. 17. <I>IC</I>'s Mac Heffner checks in with a profile of the speedy two-sport star, who is interested in playing basketball and football at the collegiate level.

Jesse Holley is a dangerous wide receiver from Roselle High (NJ) that wants to be the next two-sport star on the collegiate level. He has been in touch with North Carolina coach Matt Doherty about possibly playing basketball at UNC, while football coach John Bunting seeks his services on the gridiron.

At 6-4, 190 pounds, Holley has been clocked as running a 4.45 40-yard dash. He had 44 catches last season and saw time at quarterback also.

Holley will visit UNC on Jan. 17 and will likely attend the Tar Heels game with Connecticut at the Smith Center.

"They are known for a rich tradition of turning out exceptional athletes," Holley said. "They are recruiting me for both sports and I was always recruited as a two-sport guy there."

This season he had 30 catches but his numbers were low because he played quarterback in five games for a team that finished 3-9. He also played free safety and made more than 60 tackles, had five interceptions and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.

Holley has taken visits to Michigan State and Virginia. He is also considering Virginia and Ohio State. Several other schools – including Maryland and Florida – are also in the running for his services.

Where does North Carolina fit in?

"It's a good school with a nice location. The ACC -- it's the best right there (for basketball). Just really an all-around good school and it's not too far from home but far enough. I am trying to get away from home, so it's a good location for me."

According to Holley, North Carolina needs a stud to build a nucleus around for the future in order to be competitive.

"They need that one guy that can be that poster boy that front runner to make spectacular plays to get things going."

One positive for the Tar Heels is the success of Julius Peppers at both sports during his time at UNC. Ronald Curry, who had a less stellar career, is another example of an athlete who played two sports at a major university.

"Those two guys did it and succeeded at doing it. It can be done and it can be done at the top notch level. They did it big time Division I in the ACC."

Roselle football coach Lou Grasso said Holley is going to be an all-state selection in both sports.

"We talk everyday and he is looking to play both," Grasso said. "He has made some visits but he is still undecided."

Doherty saw Holley playing in a tournament in Las Vegas and started recruiting him.

"Coach Fleming is recruiting him and the basketball coach would love to have him," Grasso said. "They are very interested."

If after a year of playing both sports in college, Holley sees he needs to focus on one sport, then he will drop the other. However, if he is excelling at both, he plans to play both all four years.

As a junior, Holley averaged more than 20 points per game, eight rebounds, six steals and seven assists. He primarily plays at point guard, but sees action at shooting guard also.

Holley, who listed business as a possible major, understands UNC is young in both basketball and football, but said there were no negatives with North Carolina.

"With college football, year to year things will happen; Teams are down one year and jump back up the next. If I go there (UNC) then I can be part of the legacy and dynasty there."

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