2010 Intro: Prince Shembo

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- College recruiters are sure of Prince Shembo's talent, but torn on his collegiate position – defensive line or linebacker?

"[He brings] just a lot of explosive power, speed, strength," said Charlotte (N.C.) Ardrey Kell head coach Marty Woolbright said. "He could probably play up or down in college – he's that good of an athlete… It just depends on their scheme on defense. He's not the big 280-pound defensive end; he's going to be a pass rusher like Virginia Tech plays – a little smaller defensive end that has a lot of speed."

Shembo has collected scholarship offers from Duke, Illinois, NC State, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder is also receiving significant interest from Clemson, East Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.

"I've been hearing different things from different schools," Shembo said. "Like Clemson said [I could play] like a ‘Bandit' – I could play some D-end, I could pass rush on passing downs or I could drop back a couple of times, I could play some linebacker."

Shembo, though, isn't being picky.

"I like playing both positions," Shembo said. "I prefer to pass rush than drop, but I always like to get an INT."

During the first three years of his prep career, Shembo has played both defensive end and linebacker. He began, as a freshman, starting at linebacker. The following season, he was moved to defensive end.

"We just felt like we had a good defensive end on the other side – Giovanni Scott, he's at Appalachian State right now. We felt like putting Prince on the other side would free up our linebackers a little bit more," Woolbright said of Shembo's sophomore season. "We had three decent linebackers. So we felt like [Shembo] would be a better attribute to the team playing down.

"He was a lot more successful there, because we had a better team too."

Shembo ended his sophomore campaign with 117 tackles and 13 sacks.

Shembo remained at defensive end, at least primarily, for his junior season. However, he received significant reps at linebacker.

"We had some injuries that [caused us] to play him up some," Woolbright said. "…He still had more big plays playing down than he did up. He did have some sacks rushing from linebacker."

Following his junior season, the Charlotte Observer named Shembo to its All-Observer Area Team as a defensive lineman. He also found his name on the all-county and all-conference teams. He posted 86 tackles, including 12 for a loss and eight sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 22 quarterback hurries, on the season. Last summer, Shembo camped at UNC, where he worked out exclusively at linebacker under the guidance of Tommy Thigpen, who has since left UNC for Auburn.

"They were highly interested in me when [Thigpen] was there looking at my game film [and] they liked me at camp," Shembo said. "Even when I went to camp, I was injured so I wasn't 100-percent, but he liked what he saw.

"Thigpen and I, we had a good relationship. He was just a good coach. We got along so well."

Shembo voiced disappointment with Thigpen's departure, but said he understands it's part of the business.

"I loved Coach Thigpen, but coaches are going to leave and come, so you just have to deal with it," Shembo said.

Since Thigpen left, UNC's recruitment of Shembo has been in a holding pattern.

"They were going to evaluate him after this [past season]," Woolbright said. "We haven't seen them that much so far. But he has been invited to their junior day."

Shembo has accepted UNC's invitation and will attend its junior day this Saturday. He has already attended junior days at Duke, East Carolina, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.

Last fall, Shembo attended games at Georgia (versus Georgia Tech), UNC (versus Georgia Tech), NC State (versus Wake Forest), and Wake Forest (versus Clemson).

Shembo says he doesn't have any favorite schools.

"Everything is a fair game," Shembo said.

During the summer, Shembo plans to start narrowing his list of possible destinations down to four schools.

"Everybody chooses three, but there's always that one extra college outside of the three that stands out," Shembo said.

Two schools, Shembo says, are locks to make that cut – Georgia and UNC.

"When I went down there [to Georgia], I liked the whole environment of Athens," Shembo said. "The Bulldogs, they have tradition, they have history, they send a lot of people to the pros, and I love their stadium.

"At UNC, I like the facilities and the coaches. They had a good recruiting class [last season] and are on the rise.

Shembo said he isn't sure of a timetable for when he'll make a verbal commitment.

Prince Shembo

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