2011 Intro: Jeoffrey Pagan

ASHEVILLE, N.C. --- During his inaugural season at defensive end, Jeoffrey Pagan took the high school football ranks in the mountains of North Carolina by storm.

"He is relentless – that's the big thing," Asheville head coach Danny Wilkins said. "The game with Elizabethton, a pretty good team out of Tennessee, they came in late in the game, he wrong-shouldered a block, blew up the play, balls fumbled, we recover, score on a short field in the rain late, [and] win 10-3. At Reynolds – they won the 4A State Championship and we were the only team to beat them – the kid cuts [Pagan], they are throwing a slant pattern, [Pagan] gets his hands down to stop the cut block, jumps up, catches the ball in the air, and runs 85 yards for a touchdown outrunning their quarterback and running back... And then you'll see him sometimes where the quarterback will see [Pagan] at the last second [and] ducks or [Pagan] missed, hits the ground, gets back up, and runs the quarterback down."

Those types of highlights have grabbed the attention of schools throughout the nation. Pagan has been offered a scholarship by roughly 15 schools including Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest.

"Everybody in the country is looking for the athletic defensive end that can get after the passer," Wilkins said. "… He could play anywhere, but everybody sees him as that guy that can come off the edge and out-athlete a lot of those offensive tackles.

"Right now he's 6-4, 250 [pounds]. The last time he was clocked at a combine in the [40-yard dash] was a 4.63 [seconds]. He's a good power cleaner, so the explosiveness is there."

Additional offers appear on the horizon for Pagan.

"I have a film over here to go to Southern Cal, Notre Dame has requested all the stuff, Texas has requested all the stuff," Wilkins said. "It's never ending."

With so many options, Pagan believes he won't be prepared to make his collegiate decision until close to Signing Day. He expects to take all five of his official visits during the process.

"An important factor for me in choosing my school would probably be just the chemistry and if I'm comfortable there – if it feels like home, somewhere where I can relate to, and spend not just four years of my life but my whole life because I'll be tied to that school forever," Pagan said. "Somewhere that has great tradition, family-like teammates, family-like coaches, and a standout crowd that's known for football."

In June, Pagan plans to narrow down his focus to five schools. He revealed that Florida is a virtual lock to make that cut.

"I really like Florida," Pagan said. "That's a school that I would just like to get down to and check out."

Campus visits will play a major role in assisting Pagan with his narrowing. He has already made a few trips to Clemson and UNC and has visited Georgia and Georgia Tech. Within the next couple of months, he plans to visit Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Texas.

Pagan doesn't plan on camping anywhere this summer. Instead, he'll continue to make visits.

All these scholarship offers and attention wouldn't have occurred if Pagan didn't transfer into Asheville last summer.

After growing up in Asheville's district, Pagan and his mother moved to East Asheville, which meant he had to attend Reynolds High. On Reynolds' football team, which platoons because of its large roster size, Pagan played wide receiver in a spread offense during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

"They dubbed him as an offensive guy, played him as a big old wide receiver [and] he never played any defense," Wilkins said.

Before his junior season, Pagan and his mother moved back into Asheville's district and thus he transferred into Asheville High.

"Moving was the main reason [for the transfer], but to myself I knew that I needed it and I knew there was a little more opportunity [at Asheville]," Pagan said.

On Asheville's football team, Pagan would have to play both ways. He already had an offensive position, but he needed to find his niche in Asheville's 4-2-5 defense.

"We put Jeoffrey's hand on the ground, got him in a three-point stance and the rest is history," Wilkins said. "We felt like ‘Man, with his hand on the ground and just pinned back and being explosive, which is what he does best, let's just let him go.' And that's what he did.

"We needed linebacking help, so we thought about standing him up and play him at inside linebacker. We actually started to play around with some of that. But both positions were totally new to him and it seemed like [linebacker] took some of his aggressiveness, because of all the reading you have to do at the linebacker position."

Pagan spent the season rotating between both defensive end positions with Trevor Sawyer and R.J. Harvin, who signed with UNC-Pembroke.

"I fell in love with [defensive end]," Pagan said. "I didn't want to play anything but it."

On the season, Pagan recorded 54 tackles, including 11 for a loss and four sacks, three forced fumbles, and two interceptions.

Offensively, Pagan participated in summer workouts as a wide receiver in Asheville's Multiple-I offense. However, he came into the season as a tight end backing up Sawyer, who signed with Appalachian State.

"We knew he had a background of wide receiver and we needed a split end," Wilkins said. "During the summer, we had him at split end. But it was one of those things where we had a couple of other guys [for split end] and we're sitting here looking at the body of this guy and we're thinking ‘Down the road he's probably not going to have that extra gear to be that wide receiver.'"

Asheville utilized two-tight end sets a couple times a game and Pagan subbed in for Sawyer at tight end on occasions. Regardless, Pagan was a limited part of Asheville's offense – until he was moved to fullback eight games into the season.

"When we got both of our fullbacks tweaked late in the season, I came into our offensive staff meeting and said ‘I'm moving Pagan to fullback,'" Wilkins said. "They all looked at me like ‘Man, that's an idea.' He played tight end, so he should be able to play fullback."

Pagan ended the season with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 18 rushes (7.6-yard average). He also caught six passes for 37 yards and a score.

"I knew it wouldn't be a question of ‘Could he do it?'" Wilkins said. "But he picked things up so quickly."

With Sawyer graduated and no viable replacements at tight end, Pagan will be moved back to tight end for this coming season. Defensively, end will be his primary position, but he will be moved around.

"Everybody in the world is going to know who he is," Wilkins said. "So people can't scheme protection and run away from him, we're an even front most of the time but we may zero-nose him, we'll put him at tackle, we'll put him at both sides at end… We don't want to be predictable to where people are going to know where he's going to line up all the time."

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