2011 Intro: K.J. Brent

WAXHAW, N.C. --- Nearly nine months after North Carolina offered a scholarship to a then unknown wide receiver, K.J. Brent has seen a consistent rise in his recruiting stock.

"The obvious thing that jumps out is he's 6-4," Marvin Ridge head coach Scott Chadwick said. "He uses that size very well. Obviously at 6-4 he's a big target to throw to.

"The thing that separates him the most is a thing we call his ‘ball skills.' He has the best ‘ball skills' of any kid that I've ever been around. He catches everything. He makes difficult catches. We had him for one official drop this season – he just catches everything."

Within the last couple of months, Brent has collected scholarship offers from Duke, East Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Additionally, representatives from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Maryland, NC State, Oregon, Virginia, and Wake Forest have visited Marvin Ridge during December and January.

"You get an idea of what kind of recruit he's going to be when two weeks ago we had three head coaches come by," Chadwick said. "Butch Davis was here two weeks ago. Joker Phillips himself came to present the Kentucky offer. And then David Cutcliffe was here."

In addition to the new interest, Brent remains a top target for UNC.

"Coach [Everett] Withers tells me often [Brent] is obviously a very, very high priority for their 2011 class," Chadwick said.

During the fall, Brent was favoring UNC. The spike in interest has slightly altered that stance.

"I don't really have a favorite," Brent said. "It's mainly South Carolina and North Carolina. I'm really starting to like South Carolina a lot more now, because I talk to Coach [Jay] Graham more on the phone and building a relationship with him."

Brent attended South Carolina's Junior Day the weekend before Signing Day. He plans on being at UNC's Junior Day on Feb. 13 and Clemson's on Feb. 20.

Shortly after making those visits, Brent admits he could be ready to make a verbal commitment.

"It all depends on how the junior days play out and how I like it," Brent said. "I'll find out after I go to both of those [junior days] and I'll know."

Ideally, Brent would like to make a verbal commitment before the start of his senior football season.

"It's always been my dream to [commit] during my junior year so I have my senior year to work out and know what I'm supposed to do when I actually go to the school," Brent said.

Heading into his sophomore season, Brent showed a lot of promise. That promise quickly turned empty when an injury all but ended his season.

"He had looked great in the summer," Chadwick said. "We had real big expectations. He was head and shoulders our best receiver that year as a sophomore. To lose him, it was a huge blow to our team."

During the first scrimmage of that season, Brent broke his tibia and his fibula and had to have surgery.

"My mindset was: work hard and get back," Brent said.

That mindset helped Brent return sooner than expected.

"He actually rehabbed pretty well and came back and played both of our playoff games," Chadwick said. "He caught five passes. But he was a shell of himself at that point."

Last spring, Withers, UNC's area recruiter, dropped by Marvin Ridge.

"Of course I didn't have any film on K.J., because he didn't play," Chadwick said. "But I told [Withers] about [Brent]. I said he could play."

Based on Chadwick's word, Withers invited Brent to UNC's camp, which he accepted.

"By 12 o'clock on that first day [of camp], they had already decided they were going to offer [Brent] just after watching him for a couple of hours," Chadwick said. "… He really had a great day at camp there. Butch Davis said in the three years they've been there for camp, [Brent] was the best receiver they've ever had come through camp."

"The North Carolina offer surprised me so much because I was only about six months out of rehab," Brent said.

With Brent 100-percent healthy for his junior season, he was the main weapon of Marvin Ridges' spread offense, which is 60-40 run.

"Obviously in the passing game he's our go-to guy," Chadwick said. "Really, offensively, he's the one guy on our team that's a difference maker. So we know we have to give him the football."

Brent had a breakout game during the second contest of the season making seven catches for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

"From then on out, defenses really did everything they could to be lined up to stop him," Chadwick said. "We had to be real creative in where we put him and creative in finding ways to get him the football. He was clearly our best offensive option and teams knew that and there are good coaches around here that tried to take him away from us."

Additionally, Brent worked hard in practice to combat the double-teams he was facing.

"When they first started, it was stressful," Brent said. "But it gave me incentive to work with my fundamentals. Our receivers coach worked with me on that – my breaks and stuff. Also, my quarterback, Tyler [Chadwick], and I worked on our timing.

"Towards the end of the season, we were more successful [throwing the ball]. I got used to it, but then they started to triple-team me – like Anson did."

Brent ended the season with 47 catches for 737 yards and eight touchdowns.

This coming season, Marvin Ridge returns its starting quarterback, tight end, and No. 2 receiver, in addition to Brent. Thus, Chadwick expects the offense's philosophy to change.

"We'll probably throw the ball well over 50-percent this year," Chadwick said. "We figure we'll probably throw it 30-35 times a game next year."

Focused on continuing to improve, Brent declined playing basketball this year.

"I'm going to work out, work on my speed, and get ready for next season," Brent said.

Brent does plan on running track this spring. He'll participate in the 400-meter dash, 4x400 relay, and long jump.

K.J. Brent Profile

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