Meet the New Walk-Ons

The impact of walk-ons is mostly felt in practice, yet every year a select few make valuable in-game contributions. Inside Carolina has learned of 11 new walk-ons that have enrolled and joined the program this summer ...

Eric Albright
Cardinal Gibbons HS (Raleigh, N.C.)
DE, 6-4, 215 lbs.

Albright was a team captain for Cardinal Gibbons, which went 12-2 and reached the NCHSAA 3A state semifinals last season. During the season, he lined up at defensive end, outside linebacker, and fullback.

Midway through the season (7 games), he led the team in tackles (54) and sacks (13).

Albright also played lacrosse and basketball for Cardinal Gibbons.

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Steven Cobb
Myrtle Beach HS (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
OLB, 6-2, 190 lbs.

From his tight end position, Cobb was one of UNC verbal commitment Everett Golson's reliable receiving targets last season, catching 36 passes for 621 yards and ten touchdowns. For his accomplishments, he was named to the WPDE News Channel 15's All-Zone and the Region VII-AAA all-region teams, and selected to the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association North-South All Star Football Game.

Additionally, Cobb played outside linebacker, where he ended the season with 159 tackles (71 solo), including 14 for a loss and two sacks.

With Cobb starting both ways, Myrtle Beach reached the SCHSL Class AAA title game for the third consecutive year and posted a 13-2 record.

Cobb also played alongside Golson on Myrtle Beach's basketball team.

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Alex Coulthard
Richmond Sr HS (Rockingham, N.C.)
OT, 6-4, 285 lbs.

Coulthard first grabbed the attention of Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach, with his performance at UNC's summer camp. Since that point, Pittman and Coulthard stayed in contact.

Besides UNC, Coulthard received interest from Appalachian State, Clemson, and Duke. He eventually took official visits to Division I-AA North Carolina A&T and Division II UNC-Pembroke.

Coulthard, a Shrine Bowl selection, anchored Richmond County's offensive line the past couple of seasons. During his junior year, the Raiders won the NCHSAA 4AA Title.

Cooper Dumas
Hoggard HS (Wilmington, N.C.) OT, 6-4, 294 lbs.

Dumas is a former line mate of current Tar Heel freshman T.J. Leifheit, who enrolled last spring. With Dumas and Leifheit on its offensive line, Hoggard went 8-5 and produced a 1,000-yard rusher in Rashaad McDonald.

Like fellow invited walk-on Alex Coulthard, Dumas grabbed Sam Pittman's eye with his performance at UNC's summer camp – the very same session as Coulthard – and the two maintained communication.

Dumas also received interest from Division I-AA schools Elon and the Citadel.

Jake Groeschen
Leesville Road HS (Raleigh, N.C.)
QB, 6-3, 187 lbs.

Groeschen signed a National Letter-of-Intent with Division II Wingate a little over a year ago. Since he's transferring up a division, he'll practice with the team, but is not eligible to play in games until the 2011 season where he'll be a red-shirt sophomore.

Transferring isn't new to Groeschen. Prior to his senior year of high school, he transferred into Leesville Road from Cardinal Gibbons and earned the starting quarterback role. He ended that season with a 10-3 record, 1,564 yards and 12 touchdowns on 105-of-222 passing, and 427 yards rushing.

Groeschen was also a member of Leesville Road's baseball and basketball teams.

Tommy Heffernan
Columbus HS (Miami, Fla.)
LB, 6-1, 200 lbs.

After ending his Columbus career, which saw him start his final three seasons, Heffernan played in three post season games – the "Team USA vs. The World," Aloha Prep, and the Nike Miami-Dade/Broward.

Heffernan, whose father Dave played guard at Miami before playing a season in the NFL, was among Columbus' leading tacklers last season.

Besides UNC, Heffernan received interest from Duke, Florida International, and NC State.

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Alex Marrs
Graham HS (Bluefield, Va.)
LS, 6-2 235 lbs.

Marrs started the past three seasons at center for Graham, earning first-team all Southwest District and All-Region honors as a senior. However, he's being brought into UNC for his long snapping abilities, which he's handled for Graham the last couple of seasons.

Virginia Tech also offered Marrs a preferred walk-on spot as a long snapper. Additionally, he received interest from Division I-AA James Madison, NC State, and Virginia for long snapper, and Division I-AA Old Dominion and Division III Emory & Henry for offensive center.

Marrs, who is the son of Graham's head football coach, also played basketball, indoor and outdoor track, and tennis.

Mark McNeil
St. Mary's HS (Annapolis, Md.)
WR, 6-3, 200 lbs.

McNeil has enrolled on a lacrosse scholarship at UNC. Since he didn't sign a National Letter-of-Intent in the early lacrosse signing period, he's eligible to walk-on and practice with the football team. However, he can't play a down of football unless he's placed on football scholarship.

McNeil was actually a three-sport standout at St. Mary's. Besides lacrosse and football, he starred at forward on the basketball team.

In football, McNeil started at both wide receiver and defensive back, but was named All-County as an all-purpose player. He recorded 1,013 all-purpose yards (505 rushing and 508 receiving) and scored 13 touchdowns, as a senior. He also had four interceptions.

In lacrosse, McNeil played midfield where he was named an Under Armour All-American, All-County, and All-Met honorable mention by the Washington Post. He ranked second on the team with 30 goals, despite always drawing the long pole.

McNeil entertained playing lacrosse at Duke, John Hopkins, Maryland, and Virginia.

Thomas Moore
East Chapel Hill HS (Chapel Hill, NC)
K, 5-11, 190 lbs.

UNC was in search of a kickoff specialist last season. That search ended in late December, when a preferred walk-on spot was offered to Moore, who accepted less than a month later.

NC State also offered Moore a preferred walk-on spot, while Stanford showed interest.

Moore handled place kicking duties for East Chapel Hill during all four seasons of his prep career. The final two seasons, Drew Davis, son of Butch Davis, was a teammate of Moore's, which provided him plenty of opportunities to kick in front of UNC's head football coach.

However, Moore really grabbed UNC's attention with his performance at its kicking camp last summer.

Although East Chapel Hill went 1-10, Moore still had an impressive senior season. He converted five of his seven field goal attempts and booted the majority of his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.

The highlight of Moore's season, though, came in East Chapel Hill's lone victory. With the game in its final minute and the score tied at 21, Moore converted a 50-yard field goal.

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Paul Paschal
Charlotte Latin School (Charlotte, N.C.)
DB, 5-11, 185 lbs.

Paschal definitely has the football genes. His older brother, Mark, started two seasons at linebacker for UNC (2007-08) and his father, Doug, was a fullback and four-year letter winner for the Tar Heels (1976-79) and played two seasons in the NFL.

Following his senior season, Paschal was selected to the All-CISAA Conference team and represented North Carolina in the Oasis All-Star Shrine Classic.

Last season, Latin went 11-1 and won the NCISAA 11-man State Championship.

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Alec Petrocelli
Clearwater Central Catholic (Clearwater, Fla.)
LB, 6-3, 225 lbs.

Petrocelli had interest from Division I-AA and Division II schools but wanted a chance to earn a scholarship at a Division I-A program. He accepted UNC's preferred walk-on offer over similar opportunities from Rutgers and Virginia.

Petrocelli, who has played defensive end, linebacker, and offensive line at Central Catholic, camped at UNC and Rutgers last summer.

Last season, Petrocelli had 37 tackles, including five for loss despite missing much of the season with injuries. He had 65 tackles and nine sacks as a junior.

Petrocelli also participated in the shot put and discus for Central Catholic's track and field team.

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