CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- While what North Carolina has in the trenches is impressive, there's a group of skill players that have put up some freakish numbers of their own.
Starting with linebacker Bruce Carter.
Carter notched a 440-pound bench, 405-pound power clean, 600-pound squat, 37 ½-inch vertical jump, 10-2 broad jump, and a 4.39 40-yard dash. At some point the numbers seem almost too good to be true, but they are a source of pride for UNC S&C coach Jeff Connors.
"He's got a 211.5 power quotient, and of course you know he got the ESPN 'Workout Warrior' award or whatever, of course, I'm proud of that," Connors said of Carter. "I like to see that."
With the numbers that Carter put up and what he's accomplished on the field, it is almost inexplicable that he was left off the preseason All-ACC list. Carter's workout ethic is well known, but there is a skill player on the other side of the ball who has put up some pretty impressive numbers himself: wide receiver Greg Little.
Little had a 405-pound bench, 342-pound power clean, 505-pound squat, 10-10 3/4 broad jump, 40-inch vertical, 4.48 40, an a 200.7 power quotient. Amazing numbers for a wide receiver.
"He tied Brooks Foster's bench record, there is no other wide receiver I ever saw bench over 400 pounds, other than Brooks," Connors said of Little.
Another player who has soared to the top of Connor's accolades is safety Da'Norris Searcy. Searcy had a 405-pound bench, 556-pound squat, a 10-1 ½ broad jump, a 35 ½-inch broad jump, a 319-pound power clean, and a 4.39 40. Connors' pride in Searcy comes across loud and clear.
"Personally, I am looking for Da'Norris Searcy to step up, because he's a guy that's done everything right the entire time he's been here," Connors said. "He's got very good numbers, we can look at some of the other guys who've been targeted for leadership on this football team and I think he's a guy that could help us from that standpoint. He's not afraid to be vocal, and I am looking for him to make an impact."
Searcy, Little, and certainly Carter are well known for their workout ethic, but there are players who've yet to match the contributions of those seniors on the field, but are quietly impressing Connors in the weight room.
"Herman Davidson is very impressive physically, he really is," Connors said. "Looking at him, his structure, what he's accomplished in the weight room, and through the movement drills, there's no reason that he shouldn't be able to play football, from my standpoint. Shane Mularkey's had a real good summer, he's up to 230 (pounds). (I'm) very impressed with his forty time this spring; I am really looking for him to step up and help us too. He's a guy, looking at his numbers and what he's accomplished this summer, I'm looking for him to help this football team.
"Matt Merletti ran a 4.40 for us in the spring. Every physical attribute that kid has he has improved immensely since he's been here. He's put over a hundred pounds on his bench press (since coming to UNC). I'd love to see him get in there and do something."
Connors noted a couple other players that made strides in key areas over the course of the offseason.
"We were happy to see Erik Highsmith run a 4.44 forty," he said. "We are looking for bigger things from him this year, more physical blocking, not getting the ball ripped out of his hands, that type of thing. He's 190-something now. He's come a long way, he had a real good winter."
As noted in previous articles, Jhay Boyd put up some impressive numbers in the weight room and on the track this summer. He's the fastest Tar Heel (4.20-second forty), had the highest vertical (41 ½ inches) and the longest broad jump (11-0). What some might not guess is that he also had a 500 pound squat, second to Greg Little's 505 mark among wide receivers.
"Boyd's got strong legs," Connors said. "He is stronger than you would think he would be just looking at him."
Some Other Numbers of Note:
Dwight Jones – 4.45 40
Josh Adams – 36" vertical
Todd Harrelson – 450 squat
Matt Merletti – 405 bench
Charles Brown – 515 squat, 4.41 40
Jonathan Smith – 10' 7" broad jump, 39 ½" vertical
Zach Brown* – 405 bench
Quan Sturdivant – 331 power clean
Kevin Reddick – 520 squat
Some may note that Zach Brown, a workout freak who usually posts incredible numbers, is missing in some of the superlative numbers. Brown had a groin injury so he wasn't tested in lower body strength or 40 time over the summer.
"I think (Brown) should be ready to go, we kept him out of a lot of stuff this summer to make sure he's back, so he wasn't required to lift real heavy," Connors said.
Check back this evening for Part IV …