By Dave Glenn, ACC Sports Journal
September 13, 2005
2005-06 ACC Football Commitments
Asked recently to name the most important lessons he learned during his first four seasons at North Carolina, which consisted of two bowl appearances (2001, 2004) sandwiched around ugly 3-9 and 2-10 seasons, coach John Bunting mentioned recruiting first.
"We went 8-5 (in 2001), finished third in a very strong conference, and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl, and we know now that we didn't capitalize on that nearly enough on signing day (in 2002)," Bunting said. "We've completely revamped our recruiting since then. We have a better plan. We identify players earlier, get them into our camp or onto our campus earlier, get to know them better. That helps us tremendously in the evaluation process, and it helps (the prospects) get to know us earlier as well."
Somehow, after going 3-9 on the field in 2002, the Tar Heels signed Bunting's only consensus top-20 class in 2003. That spring, he hired as his recruiting coordinator Brad Lawing, who previously handled that role at times under Brad Scott at South Carolina (1989-98) and under Bobby Williams at Michigan State (1999-2002). UNC's last two classes generally were ranked in the 25-45 range nationally.
"We're much smarter about the way we do things now, and it helps that we've been here for five years, because we know more (high school) coaches and we've known about some of these (high school) seniors for three years," Bunting said. "(Lawing) has been the driving force behind getting us more organized and more efficient in everything we do. I think everyone can see the higher level of talent in our last three classes, and this (2006) class should be the best since I've been here."
Below is a review of UNC's Class of 2006 commitments whose information capsules were not included in previous editions of the ACC Sports Journal:
Dendron (VA) Surry County TE Ed Bar-ham, rated one of the top 30 seniors in Virginia, committed to North Carolina in July over interest from Maryland, Penn State, South Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech. He is a friend of UNC freshmen and fellow Virginia products Bobby Rome and E.J. Wilson, as well as 2005 signee Darrius Massenburg. A four-year starter at defensive end and a three-year starter at tight end, Barham posted 110 tackles, eight sacks, 20 receptions and 500-plus receiving yards last fall. Also an outstanding basketball player, he averaged 20.2 points and 17.2 rebounds for the Group A state champions in 2004-05, earning small-school state player of the year honors. (He will play only football in Chapel Hill.) A UNC summer camper on the gridiron, Barham runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is defensive tackles coach Ken Browning.
"That's the one school I was waiting for. Playing for (UNC) is a dream come true," Barham said. "I know a lot of the guys down there already. It's a great environment with great coaches, and everyone knows it's one of the best universities. I also like that it's close enough to home that my family can see me play."
Fayetteville (NC) Britt LB Wesley Flagg, rated one of the top 30 seniors in North Carolina, chose childhood favorite UNC in July over interest from Duke, ECU, N.C. State, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. A second-team all-conference selection, he had 115 tackles as a junior for an 11-5 team that reached the Class 4A state championship game. A UNC summer camper, Flagg consistently runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, has a vertical leap of 37 inches, benches 300 pounds and squats 475. He must improve his academic credentials to qualify. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is offensive line coach Hal Hunter.
"(Flagg) is every bit as good as (2005 Florida State signee and prep All-American) Derek Nicholson. He's definitely faster, and he may be bigger, too," Britt coach Richard Bailey said. "Wesley is as good a player as I've ever had at linebacker. He's incredibly fast, and he makes plays from sideline to sideline. If he had waited a little bit longer, he would have had a lot of offers. He won't be able to stay under the radar much longer. He's too good."
Jacksonville (FL) Bartram Trail OL Zack Handerson, rated one of the top 75 seniors in Florida, picked UNC in July over Auburn, Florida and Oklahoma. He also had offers from Alabama-Birmingham, Clemson, ECU, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, N.C. State, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. His former teammate, offensive lineman Jeff Griffin, became Bartram Trail's first Division I-A signee in history last year when he signed with Wake Forest. A three-year starter, Handerson earned first-team all-county honors as a junior, after grading out at 96 percent for a
9-3 team. He's also the starting center on his school's basketball squad. A UNC summer camper, he benches 300 pounds, squats 410 and runs the 40 in 5.2 seconds. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 980 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is defensive ends coach Brad Lawing, and he said offensive line coach Hal Hunter also played a large role in his decision.
"Most of all, I like the fact that (UNC) has a good balance between academics and sports, and they back it up. Some other schools say they have that, but they don't back it up," Handerson said. "Everything I saw this summer the academic center, football facilities, coaching staff, the campus was first-class. I don't think you'll find a better balance of academics and athletics anywhere in the NCAA."
Charlotte (NC) Providence Day TE Vince Jacobs, rated one of the top 30 seniors in North Carolina, selected UNC in July over Virginia. He also had offers from Clemson, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, plus basketball offers from Appalachian State, William & Mary and others. (He committed to ASU for hoops in May, before re-opening his recruitment.) As a junior, Jacobs had 12 receptions for 153 yards and four touchdowns for a 9-3 team. He also was the independent-school state champion in the high jump (6-7). A UNC summer camper, he runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds. He has a 2.8 GPA and a 1,010 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is wide receivers coach Dave Brock.
Charlotte (NC) Independence WR Hakeem Nicks, rated one of the top 40 seniors in North Carolina, chose UNC in July over interest from ECU, Virginia and Wake Forest. He plays for one of the top programs in the state, as Independence had won 77 straight games (while averaging almost 50 points per game) and five consecutive state titles entering the 2005 season. As a junior, while playing mostly tight end, he averaged 22 yards on just a handful of receptions, with the team's passing attack focused on then-senior Mohamed Massaquoi (Georgia). A UNC summer camper, Nicks impressed scouts with his performances at several team camps and a combine in Durham during the offseason. He runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is wide receivers coach Dave Brock.
"Carolina is getting a steal," said long-time Independence coach Tom Knotts, who coached at Duke in 2004 before returning to Independence. "(Nicks) is as good as Massaquoi, if not better, in many areas. He just needs more experience, some polish. Nobody knew about him last year. Very few people knew about him this summer. Everybody will know about him this fall."
Malvern (PA) Great Valley QB Anthony Parker-Boyd, rated one of the top 50 seniors in Pennsylvania, selected UNC in August over Boston College and Iowa. He also had offers from Duke, Rutgers, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others, with many schools recruiting him for other positions. (The Tar Heels promised him a shot at quarterback.) A third-team all-state selection, Parker-Boyd threw for 1,815 yards, ran for 963 yards and accounted for 23 touchdowns (15 passing, eight rushing) as a junior, while posting 34 tackles and five interceptions as a cornerback for an 11-1 team. He runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, benches 285 pounds and squats 450. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 1,240 SAT score. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is tight ends coach John Gutekunst.
"Everybody up here remembers Coach Bunting from his playing days (with the Philadelphia Eagles), and my family lived down there (in Durham) when I was little," Parker-Boyd said. "Everything just came together. They're a program on the rise, they needed a quarterback, and I'm very comfortable down there because I still have a lot of family in the area. I was really impressed with (UNC offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill) when I met with him this summer, and they said I have a lot of similarities to Darian Durant. He set a lot of records while he was there with Coach Tranquill, and we're kind of built the same way and have some of the same skills."
Greenville (NC) Rose OL Morgan Randall, rated one of the top 40 seniors in North Carolina, picked UNC in July over Navy. He also had a scholarship offer from ECU, plus interest from Virginia. Both of his parents graduated from Carolina, and he has a brother and two cousins who are students there now. As a junior, while playing mostly tight end and defensive end, Randall had 70 tackles and 7.5 sacks. A UNC summer camper, he said he anticipates a redshirt year in 2006 so he can continue to learn the offensive tackle position. An outstanding student whose father is the head of ECU's cancer center and whose extended family includes four dentists, Randall has a 4.5 GPA, a 1,380 SAT score, and plans to study dentistry. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is defensive ends coach Brad Lawing, and he said offensive line coach Hal Hunter also played a significant role in his decision.
"My family and I spent about four hours one day (in July) going over every detail of this decision," Randall said. "It was very hard to turn down the Naval Academy, because that's such an incredible honor. But it's also an honor to be offered a scholarship to Carolina. I've been a Tar Heel my whole life. I've been going to Carolina games since I was little. Every person in my family who has gone to college has gone to Chapel Hill. They obviously have great academics, and I feel great about the football program, especially the opportunity to learn under such a knowledgeable guy (Hunter). I don't know much about playing tackle right now, so I have a lot to learn, but I like his style. He's a teacher, not a screamer, and I think I can be a very good student for him."
Waldorf (MD) Westlake RB/DB Aaris Reed, rated one of the top 25 seniors in Maryland, opted for childhood favorite UNC in August over Illinois, Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt. He also had offers from numerous MAC programs. His prep teammate, defensive end Darius Powell, committed to the Tar Heels in June. As a junior, Reed rushed 170 times for 1,336 yards and 18 touchdowns, with 10 receptions for 133 yards. A UNC summer camper, he runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds, benches 275 pounds and squats 450. He has a 2.5 GPA and a 17 ACT score. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen, and he said running backs coach Andre Powell also played a significant role in his decision.
"People always ask me if I'm going to Carolina because it's my dad's favorite school or because (Powell) is going there, but I made this decision on my own," Reed said. "When I got the (scholarship) offer, I went down there to Chapel Hill and just fell in love with it. It's a great school in a great town, and the football team is on the way up. Carolina likes big backs and speed backs, and I'm a (speed) guy. I have a lot of explosion when I run, and they like the way I can catch the ball out of the backfield, too."
Sugar Land (TX) Austin TE Trevor Stuart, rated one of the top 200 seniors in Texas, chose UNC in July over interest from Rice, Texas Christian, Texas-El Paso, Texas Tech and Tulsa. A first-team all-district selection, he had 18 receptions for 300-plus yards and six touchdowns as a junior. A UNC summer camper, Stuart also serves as a deep snapper for his high school team. He runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds, benches 225 pounds and squats 325. He has a 3.2 GPA and a 1,000-plus SAT score. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is offensive line coach Hal Hunter.
Winston-Salem (NC) Mt. Tabor FB/TE Ryan Taylor, rated one of the top 30 seniors in North Carolina, selected UNC in June over Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. He also had a scholarship offer from Virginia for lacrosse. As a junior, he had 53 receptions for 982 yards and 14 touchdowns as a wide receiver for a 12-2 team, while also being used at times as a lead blocker out of the backfield. A UNC summer camper, Taylor runs the 40 in 4.7 seconds, and he's projected as an H-back in Chapel Hill. His main recruiter with the Tar Heels is running backs coach Andre Powell.
"The best word for Ryan is tenacious," Mt. Tabor coach Bob Sapp said. "He's very intense, and he always plays hard. I think Carolina likes him a lot for his blocking ability. He's just one of those kids who enjoys contact, and that's one of the reasons he's played a lot of tight end for us even though he's also an excellent receiver. He just has a knack for seeking out the right block at the right angle and taking (defenders) out of the play."
2005-06 ACC FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS
BOSTON COLLEGE (12)
|Name||Pos.||Ht.||Wt.||High School/Junior College|
|Alex Albright||DE||6-4||215||Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier|
|Ross Applegate||QB||6-6||185||Marietta (GA) Walton|
|Thomas Claiborne||DT||6-2||310||Wellesley (MA) High|
|Bill Flutie||QB||6-2||175||Natick (MA) High|
|Chris Fox||DB||5-11||190||Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers|
|Reshaude Goodwyn||DB||5-11||180||Natick (MA) High|
|Richard Lapham||OL||6-7||285||Amherst (NH) Souhegan|
|Ryan Lindsey||WR||5-8||165||Ramsey (NJ) Bosco|
|James McCluskey||LB||6-2||230||Billerica (MA) Memorial|
|Josh Neubert||TE/DE||6-3||240||Lansdale (PA) North Penn|
|Damik Scafe||DT||6-2||290||Windsor (CT) High|
|Jeff Smith||DB||5-10||185||Kingston (MA) Silver Lake|
|Crezdon Butler||DB||6-0||175||Asheville (NC) High|
|Jo Jo Cox||RB||5-10||215||Jeffersonville (GA) Twiggs County|
|Jamie Cumbie||TE/DE||6-6||255||Morris (IL) Community|
|Richard Jackson||PK||5-11||180||Greer (SC) Riverside|
|Kendrick Johnson||WR||6-2||170||Coral Springs (FL) High|
|Byron Maxwell||DB||6-0||180||North Charleston (SC) Ft. Dorchester|
|DeAndre McDaniel||DB||6-0||185||Tallahassee (FL) Godby|
|Jeff Ogren||WR||6-3||185||Northport (AL) American Christian|
|Ricky Sapp||DE||6-4||225||Bamberg (SC) Bamberg-Ehrhardt|
|Michael Wade||QB||6-2||185||Greer (SC) Riverside|
|Julius Wilkerson||LB||6-2||200||Gaffney (SC) High|
|T.J. Williams#||WR||6-2||175||Fork Union (VA) Military|
|William Ball||TE||6-3||215||Austin (TX) Westlake|
|Sheldon Bell||WR||6-3||180||Baltimore (MD) City College|
|Quintin Davie||WR||6-4||190||St. Louis (MO) Cardinal Ritter|
|Catron Gainey||DB||6-0||195||Hephzibah (GA) High|
|Andrew Holoman||LB||6-2||205||Ashburn (VA) Stone Bridge|
|Jarrod Holt||OL||6-6||315||Clearwater (FL) High|
|Brett Huffman||TE||6-4||235||Massillon (OH) Washington|
|Brandon King||FB||6-1||240||Doylestown (PA) Central Bucks West|
|Mitchell Lederman||OL||6-7||320||Brodhead (WI) High|
|Matt Pridemore||DB||5-11||180||Buford (GA) High|
|Tyler Rice||LB/DE||6-3||240||Boca Raton (FL) St. Andrew's|
|Jeremy Ringfield||WR||6-5||195||Locust Grove (GA) Luella|
|Tielor Robinson*||RB||5-11||220||Army Transfer|
FLORIDA STATE (10)
|Evan Bellamy||OL||6-4||315||Miami (FL) Gulliver|
|Callahan Bright#||DT||6-2||315||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Matt Hardrick#||OL||6-5||340||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Ryan McMahon||DT||6-2||280||Rome (GA) Darlington|
|Justin Mincey#||DE||6-5||240||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Caz Piurowski||TE||6-7||235||Land O' Lakes (FL) High|
|Christian Ponder||QB||6-2||205||Colleyville (TX) Heritage|
|Chad Roark||DT||6-2||285||Ada (OK) High|
|Myron Rolle||DB||6-2||215||Princeton (NJ) Hun|
|Brandon Warren||TE/DE||6-2||235||Alcoa (TN) High|
GEORGIA TECH (5)
|Ben Anderson||DT||6-1||260||Aiken (SC) South Aiken|
|Austin Barrick||TE||6-3||245||Moody (AL) High|
|Shane Bowen||LB||6-3||210||Pickerington (OH) Central|
|Robert Hall||LB/DE||6-3||220||Hawkinsville (GA) High|
|Byron Ingram||QB||6-4||175||Stone Mountain (GA) Redan|
|Tucker Baumbach||OL||6-5||335||Harrisburg (PA) Bishop McDevitt|
|Rick Costa*||LB||6-1||235||Temple Transfer|
|Morgan Green#||RB||6-0||210||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Cory Jackson||LB||6-1||240||Morgantown (WV) University|
|Brandon Jackson-Mills||DB||5-10||165||Germantown (MD) Northwest|
|Emani Lee||WR||6-2||175||Washington (DC) Anacostia|
|Adrian Moten||LB/DB||6-2||190||Brandywine (MD) Gwynn Park|
|Hunter Reddick*||DB||6-1||190||Navy Transfer|
|Jeremy Ricker||QB||6-4||195||Harrisburg (PA) Bishop McDevitt|
|Da'Rel Scott||WR/DB||6-0||180||Plymouth Meeting (PA) Whitemarsh|
|Pha'Terrell Washington||RB/DB||5-11||185||Waldorf (MD) Westlake|
|Matt Bosher||PK||6-0||180||Jupiter (FL) High|
|Pat Devlin||QB||6-4||205||Downingtown (PA) East|
|Richard Gordon#||TE/DE||6-4||240||Princeton (NJ) Hun|
|Josh Holmes||DT||6-1||260||San Diego (CA) Point Loma|
|Javarris James||RB||6-0||205||Immokalee (FL) High|
|Sam Shields||WR||6-0||180||Sarasota (FL) Booker|
N.C. STATE (5)
|Pat Bedics*||LB||6-1||235||Penn State Transfer|
|Justin Burke||QB||6-2||195||Lexington (KY) Catholic|
|Josh Czajkowski||PK/P||5-10||185||Springfield (VA) West Springfield|
|Nathan Franklin||PK/P||5-11||165||Wilmington (NC) Hoggard|
|Gavin Smith||DT||6-4||275||Raleigh (NC) Wakefield|
NORTH CAROLINA (24)
|Ed Barham||TE/DE||6-4||235||Dendron (VA) Surry County|
|Logan Buchanan||LB||6-2||205||Mocksville (NC) Davie|
|Kendric Burney||DB||5-9||175||Jacksonville (NC) Southwest Onslow|
|Bruce Carter||LB/DB||6-2||205||Havelock (NC) High|
|Joe Dailey*||QB||6-1||205||Nebraska Transfer|
|Shaun Draughn||RB/DB||5-11||190||Tarboro (NC) High|
|Greg Elleby||DT||6-4||280||Tabor City (NC) South Columbus|
|Anthony Elzy||RB||5-10||200||Warren (OH) Kennedy|
|LeCount Fantroy||DB||5-11||170||Washington (DC) Ballou|
|Wesley Flagg||LB||5-11||225||Fayetteville (NC) Britt|
|Dwight Fluker-Berry#||DB||6-2||190||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Zack Handerson||OL||6-7||255||Jacksonville (FL) Bartram Trail|
|Vince Jacobs||TE||6-6||220||Charlotte (NC) Providence Day|
|Tarvorris Jolly||RB/DB||5-10||180||Shelby (NC) High|
|Darrius Massenburg#||DE||6-4||255||Chatham (VA) Hargrave Military|
|Hakeem Nicks||WR||6-1||205||Charlotte (NC) Independence|
|Anthony Parker-Boyd||QB||6-1||195||Malvern (PA) Great Valley|
|Darius Powell||LB/DE||6-2||205||Waldorf (MD) Westlake|
|Morgan Randall||OL||6-6||250||Greenville (NC) Rose|
|Aaris Reed||RB/DB||5-9||185||Waldorf (MD) Westlake|
|Trevor Stuart||TE||6-3||235||Sugar Land (TX) Austin|
|Ryan Taylor||FB/TE||6-4||210||Winston-Salem (NC) Mt. Tabor|
|Johnny White||RB||5-10||190||Asheville (NC) High|
|Deunta Williams||DB||6-3||195||Jacksonville (NC) White Oak|
|B.J. Cabbell||OL||6-4||300||Lovingston (VA) Nelson County|
|Asa Chapman||DT||6-4||350||Orange (VA) Orange County|
|Nate Collins||DT||6-2||275||Stamford (CT) King & Low|
|Chris Dalton||WR||6-1||170||Statesville (NC) West Iredell|
|John-Kevin Dolce||LB||6-2||225||South Huntington (NY) St. Anthony's|
|Sean Gottschalk||TE/DE||6-4||255||Glen Allen (VA) Deep Run|
|Mark Herzlich||DE||6-4||250||Berwyn (PA) Conestoga|
|Raynard Horne||RB/DB||5-11||195||Overlea (MD) High|
|Cedric Jeffries||WR/DB||6-1||185||Egg Harbor (NJ) Township|
|George Johnson||LB||6-4||230||Glassboro (NJ) High|
|Andrew Pearman*||RB||5-9||175||Hawaii Transfer|
|Almondo Sewell||LB||6-2||230||Trenton (NJ) Central|
|Joe Torchia||TE||6-6||235||North Arlington (NJ) Queen Of Peace|
|Marc Verica||QB||6-2||185||Drexel Hill (PA) Monsignor Bonner|
|O.C. Wardlow||QB/DB||5-11||180||Winston-Salem (NC) Mt. Tabor|
|Kordell Young||RB||5-8||180||Westville (NJ) West Deptford|
VIRGINIA TECH (10)
|Nekos Brown||LB||6-1||210||Waldorf (MD) Stone|
|Rashad Carmichael||DB||5-10||165||Brandywine (MD) Gwynn Park|
|Clark Crum||OL||6-6||285||Dublin (OH) Scioto|
|Mike Gee||DE||6-1||235||Englewood (NJ) Morrow|
|Todd Nolen#||WR||6-2||190||Fork Union (VA) Military|
|Devin Radford||RB/DB||5-8||175||Fayetteville (NC) Smith|
|Daryl Robertson||DT||6-2||290||Bedford (VA) Liberty|
|Andre Smith||TE/DE||6-4||235||Germantown (MD) Seneca Valley|
|Jacob Sykes||WR||6-0||170||Goldsboro (NC) High|
|Beau Warren||OL||6-3||265||Clifton (VA) Centreville|
WAKE FOREST (6)
|Dennis Godfrey||TE||6-3||255||Sanford (NC) Lee County|
|Kyle Jarrett||LB||6-2||215||Clemmons (NC) West Forsyth|
|Zach MacDowall||QB||6-2||200||Kennesaw (GA) Harrison|
|Tripp Russell||LB/DE||6-2||230||Winston-Salem (NC) Mt. Tabor|
|Marshall Williams||WR||6-1||165||Durham (NC) Riverside|
|Matthew Woodlief||LB||5-10||235||Catawba (NC) Bandys|
Note: # - originally signed in 2005
* - major-college transfer; sitting out 2005/eligible in 2006