Holley set to commit - to Carolina?

Meet Jesse Holley, the talented two-sport star from New Jersey who is on the verge of announcing his decision ... and all signs point to him selecting North Carolina.

Speed and strength.

If an athlete has a good amount of both, there's a good chance that they could be successful at just about any sport. Especially football and basketball.

Thus is the case of Jesse Holley, a big-time wide receiver on the gridiron as well as a talented combo guard on the basketball court. The 6-3 athlete from Roselle (NJ) High is about to announce his collegiate destination and it's down to just two schools -- Virginia and North Carolina.

And he'll have to decide which sport he wants to play as well.

Or will he?

"I met with both coaches -- Matt Doherty and John Bunting," he said of his visit to UNC. "I'm going to play both sports in college. Not too many people can say that they've done that, but I'm going to try it."

Heck, why shouldn't he? Ronald Curry did it. Charlie Ward did it. Now, Jesse Holley -- the No. 2-ranked wide receiver and top-ranked shooting guard in New Jersey -- is going to do it.

The athletic phenom will accept a football scholarship from either the Wahoos or the Heels and plans to walk on the basketball team. And needless to say, he's very excited to play both sports.

He just finished up his visit to Chapel Hill this past weekend and was very excited about his time in the Triangle, but one particular part of his visit seemed to stand out more than anything when speaking with the eloquent senior.

"I got to sit down and have a one-on-one with Dean Smith," he said, still awe-struck. "And, oh man, that was like, I can't even put words to it."

Eventually, however, the words came.

"It was like meeting a legend. It was like meeting Mr.Carolina Basketball himself. On the basketball side of things, I was just amazed with getting to meet him. It was like meeting Michaelangelo if I was a painter or something. There are just no words to describe it."

A weekend with the Carolina football program, and an assist from Dean Smith, has put UNC in prime position to land Holley.

Basketball fans may be excited of the possibility that Holley would be a tremendous addition to the basketball team as a possible walk-on. But don't get too excited, folks -- Holley's first priority is football, where he's one of the best at his position in the entire nation.

He was clocked at 4.45 in the 40-yard-dash and had 44 catches last season. This season, his numbers were down a bit because he was forced to play quarterback in five of his team's games. But his lower senior numbers were certainly not an indication of a drop off in talent.

Widely recognized football guru Jamie Newberg includes the New Jersey prep star among the top 20 receivers in the entire nation and he has scholarship offers from dozens of big time programs including Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame in addition to the Heels and Cavaliers.

Speaking of the Cavaliers, Holley had a fabulous visit to Charlottesville in November and was quoted as saying that the Hoos were the team to beat for quite some time. He said that UVA led as late as the 15th of January – however it should be noted that this was prior to his visit to the Hill.

When speaking of the Cavalier's football program, it's easy to see that he has an admiration for head coach Al Groh.

"He knows how to prepare kids for the NFL. If they've got the skills, then he has the connections to get them there. His game plan and practice is NFL style," Holley said.

As for the differences between the two ACC schools, Holley didn't give much indication as to where he might be leaning.

"Well, to tell you the truth -- they are just so similar that it's ridiculous. It's going to be a tough decision, that's for sure," he said.

Holley plans to announce his decision on Monday, Jan. 27. But we think it's a safe bet that a certain someone may have already made up his mind on where he's going. He may just want to hold on to his thunder and keep everyone in suspense until he steps up to a podium on Monday morning in New Jersey.

"It's kind of funny," he said, referring to which school he'll choose. "I'm real tight with a lot of the folks in my athletic department at school. I have some bets with several of them. They think that they know where I'm going to go, and I told them that if they're right, I'd take them to lunch. But if they're wrong -- they've got to take me to lunch."

And as of Wednesday night, it appears very likely that the friends who predicted he'd be a Tar Heel will be eating for free.

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