UNC Among Va. Center's Favorites

Since attending North Carolina's Junior Day in late February, Russell Bodine has had the Tar Heels high on his list of favorite schools.

"UNC is definitely in my top four," Bodine said. "UNC is definitely one of the nicer schools I've been to. The coaches seem like real good guys. And then all the stuff they're doing to their program – they're redoing all their football offices and stadium.

"I'm really trying not to take a favorite right now, just to go around and see everything [with an open mind] before I make a decision. But [UNC] is definitely up there."

Duke, Virginia, and Virginia Tech round out the remainder of Bodine's top four. The 6-foot-4, 278-pound offensive lineman from Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy has received scholarship offers from all four favorite, plus California, Marshall, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.

Bodine guesses he will make a verbal commitment sometime this summer.

"Part of me says go ahead and do it and get it over with, but at the same time I don't want to rush it," Bodine said. "I've never even been to Virginia Tech – obviously Fork Union has a pretty good connection there because of all the guys we send there. Vanderbilt offered me last week [and] that's another place I haven't been."

Bodine plans to attend Virginia Tech's Spring Game next weekend.

Like many, Bodine is looking for a school with a good combination of football and academics.

"[I'm looking for] the right fit – basically the whole package," Bodine said. "I want to find a balance of academics and football. I'm not trying to go to a school that doesn't graduate [it's players], but at the same time, I don't want to go to a school that doesn't care about football."

UNC assistant Charlie Williams discovered Bodine during a visit to Fork Union last winter.

"I'm guessing [Williams] was there to see [Mark] Shuman," Bodine said. "When he was there he was like ‘Oh, well you should definitely come down for junior day.' He took my tape back [to UNC], and I didn't hear anything from them until I visited."

Unaware of UNC's true interest level, Bodine initially paused at the invitation.

"I was talking about going up to [Virginia] Tech, and [Coach John Shuman] just said ‘Look, you need to go to North Carolina,'" Bodine said. "I honestly hadn't talked to them all that much."

Bodine made the trip, where he was pleasantly surprised with a UNC scholarship offer.

"I had no idea [they were going to offer]," Bodine said. "Basically, from what they said, all I needed to do was pass a little size test, because they said they didn't realize I was that big. From what he said, he definitely liked my tape, but for some reason they thought I was 6-2 – and I'm not."

Throughout his stay, Bodine spent a great deal of time with offensive line coach Sam Pittman, who discussed UNC's need of centers.

"He said I'm the only true center they've recruited in years," Bodine said. "And now I think they've offered me and one more – A.J. Cann. He said they're looking for someone to come in and contend to play early."

After starting on and off as a sophomore, Bodine served as a full time starter at center for Fork Union's high school team last fall. He was expected to see significant snaps as a freshman, but missed that entire season with a broken collarbone.

In addition to UNC, Bodine has visited Duke and Wake Forest, and has made several trips to Virginia, which is 20 minutes from his home.

Russell Bodine Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories