Entry #1: Introduction
First, let me introduce myself: I am a tall, goofy, athletic, and – now I would consider myself – inspirational kind of guy. I'm someone who's fun to be around, energetic – I can't stop bouncing off walls – and I'm someone that can be relied on. I'm just a blast, a fun guy.
Hopefully, you'll be able to notice all that from this journal that I'll be doing for Inside Carolina every week until I enroll at UNC in May.
From a football standpoint, I bring focus and demand. There's a certain level you have to play at on the field with me. You have to meet my standards of energy, focus, and work ethic. I won't say "No, it's not possible." I'm the type of guy that tries and tries and tries.
I was born in North New Jersey (973) and lived there for about four – maybe five – years. Then I moved to my mom's original hometown, which is in Rhode Island (401). But now, I'm in 336, which is Greensboro, N.C.
When I played Pop Warner football, my team won two back-to-back state championships. We were just smoking teams. So my mom was like, "You're so good at it, but you're not going to get any shine here. I'm tired of the city. We're moving."
She told me that a month before we moved. I had a girlfriend at the time for about a year and I didn't want to tell her. So I waited the week before we left to tell her. That was real stressful.
My mom said she was going to move to Florida, but it was too hot. We were going to move to Virginia, but it was still like living in the city. So she was like "In between those two, is North and South Carolina … we're going to North Carolina."
We moved to North Carolina in March of my freshman year.
The first thing I said when we entered North Carolina and got off the exit was "There are no sidewalks?!" In the city, there's a sidewalk everywhere and there's a corner store in every corner. I was like "Ah, man, I'm lost already. I don't know what to do."
And then I noticed the people and the way they dressed and the way they carried themselves and the ‘Ma'am' and ‘Sir' - I wasn't used to that. So I had to adapt to that kind of fast because it's respectful.
Heading into my sophomore year, I was working hard in the summer – working out with the team, lifting weights.
I started out at quarterback, but that didn't work out. What caught my coach's attention was when we went to a seven-on-seven and we played Parkland in Winston-Salem. The first throw was a lob in the air and I got triple-teamed and I caught it with one hand. Coach was like, "We found our player. We found just the dude we needed."
That summer, the school said I didn't have a credit I needed to play football. But in the Guilford County Schools rulebook, it said they were supposed to give me a credit for transferring from a traditionally scheduled school to a block scheduled school. But they didn't know that until later. So I had to miss my sophomore season.