Q&As with the Early Enrollees

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- While National Signing Day celebrates the players of the future, some members of the Tar Heels' 2010 recruiting class have already arrived. Inside Carolina talked with the five early enrollees Wednesday at the Kenan Football Center ...

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What have these first few weeks been like for you?

"It's been real different - I was at Hargrave Military Academy, so it's a little different. But the older guys took us in and showed us the ropes. It's made it easier."

Did Hargrave help give you structure and prepare you for college?

"Yes, definitely. Coming out of high school I wasn't as focused, but coming out of Hargrave I was lot more focused and it gave me more structure."

How's the relationship that you've built with these other early enrollees?

"It's a good relationship. I started talking to them way before January - on Facebook and on the phone - so we've been close and when we got here we were already our own little family."


How's your introduction to college gone so far?

"They've gone well. Academically, it's going well. Athletically, the first couple of workouts were a little rough, but after you got those out of the way it's pretty smooth now ... The first workout was definitely a shock, but then you get the mental aspect going and it's been easier ever since."

What was your thinking in enrolling in January and skipping the second half of your senior year?

"I wanted a leg up athletically and academically. I wanted to try and reach my goals sooner. I wanted to try and play early. So right now I'm focused on getting stronger and personally getting physically ready for college football."

Coach Davis has talked a lot about the H-back versus the tight end. Where do you fall in that mix?

"Right now they have me playing H-back until I put on more weight. Then maybe eventually down the line I could be playing Y tight end which is more on the line. ... They want me to put on weight regardless of what position I play."


Do you feel like you've started to build strong relationships with Coach Pittman and the other coaches?

"All of the coaches are great. They call you in when you walk by their offices, watch film with you - whatever you need."

What type of strength and conditioning are you and the team doing right now?

"There are about five or six different groups of players and they split you up and let you know what you need. My schedule is I lift and run four days a week - Wednesday is my day off, so that's pretty the nice. The workouts have been real intense. They expect a lot out of you - and the players do as well."

Do you think coming in early you'll have a good chance to play this fall?

"Yeah, I like to think so. I'm going to keep working at it. It's not going to be given to anyone here - and everyone knows that, which is great for us as a team. You keep working hard, things fall your way and you'll get a shot at some playing time."


The line was a position of need in this class. Are you operating with the mindset that they need you to contribute right away?

"Yes, that's the way I'm approaching it. I'm going to do everything I can to get on the field next year ... There's some pressure there, but it's good. It's not something weighing down on me, it's more of an incentive."

Freshmen usually don't hit the field right away on the offensive line. How much work will be required to make that possible?

"It's going to be a lot of work that I need to put in, but that's one of the good things about coming in early. You get an extra seven months in a college weighlifting program and being here with the coaches, we're having meetings all the time - getting the film down, getting the playbook down, and then spring practice is going to be a huge thing."

What was it like watching Signing Day from the football office up here?

"It's a lot different than I thought it would be. Originally I thought it'd be a little more relaxed, but the coaches are hectic, running all over the place making sure they get the letters."


Is the plan to play you at defensive tackle?

"Yeah, I'll be also playing some defensive end - we'll see how it goes during spring ball."

How have these first weeks here been for you?

"It's been good. At first there's a little hesitation with the transition, being the last early arrival, it was a little hectic. But now everything is smoothing out, I'm getting used to the workouts, getting used to the people being around here - it's becoming more like a family and a home to me."

What sold you on choosing UNC?

"The coaching staff - Butch Davis is a great head coach, Coach Blake is a good man off the field and on the field. You just want to be coached by someone who can develop you the most and I feel like being with this coaching staff and being in this type of defense can prepare me for the next level."

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