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North Carolina Continues Early Commitment Parade

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

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

CLEMSON (12)

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

DUKE (13)

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

MARYLAND (11)

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

MIAMI (6)

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

VIRGINIA (16)

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