Entry #2: Recruitment
After my sophomore season, which I didn’t get to play because I was ruled ineligible, Coach Rodney Brewington said, “We’re going to try something. We’re going to put you in a playing field where there’s a whole lot of competition, where there are kids from all over. Let’s see how you do.”
So I went to a National Underclassman Combine. Coach Butch Davis’ son was there as well and Coach Davis was standing out there watching. Next thing you know, I was invited to a one-day camp at UNC.
I went to the UNC 7-on-7 camp in July, earned an award, worked out with the coaches, and came out with a scholarship. I obviously proved myself. Coach Brewington couldn’t believe what was happening. At the time, I didn’t really understand what was being given to me.
After I got back from UNC’s camp, I guess all the ACC schools had heard that North Carolina had offered me because I started to receive mail from them.
One day, before practice, my coach grabbed everybody and brought them to the auditorium. He handed me this letter that on one the side of it said “NC State.” I’m looking at it and I had no idea what it was. It said “Offer Letter” at the top – I was like, “What is that?” Coach Brewington told me to read it. I started reading slow, because I had no idea what it was. Coach Brewington got impatient and grabbed it from me, and he started reading it. It said I had a full scholarship from NC State. Everybody was clapping and I still had no idea what it was.
Coach Brewington sat me down, broke down the process, and explained to me what was about to happen. I didn’t believe him. A couple months later, I had letters from everywhere – schools I had never even heard of. Coach Brewington said my name had started to become a curse to him, because everyday there were 20-30 letters in his box for me and college coaches were calling him about me like crazy. Now, I have five shoe boxes and a big old bucket of letters from schools from all over the nation.
It was stressful. I don’t know how Jadeveon Clowney did it. I don’t know how guys like Stephone Anthony did it. I was trying to wait for Signing Day to decide, but my phone was blowing up every five minutes, I started messing up in the classroom, and I kept thinking ‘What am I going to do - what school am I going to go to?’ I couldn’t wait for Signing Day.
So I decided I had to make a decision. My coach and I went inside the library one day in March and he said, “Lay your top three schools out for me.” So I named Miami, UNC, and Clemson. He said, “Make a decision right now. Who’s it going to be? Miami, UNC, Clemson – pick one.”
It took us 30 minutes. This is the dead honest truth: Miami was No. 1, Clemson was No. 2, and UNC was No. 3. At first, I was trying to get away from the state of North Carolina.
Then I had a flash of a whole bunch of memories of playing on Kenan Stadium’s field. And I’ve never even been to Miami. And Clemson was too ‘south’ for me. I said, "I’ll just be a Tar Heel."
But I haven’t had any buyer’s remorse. Everywhere you go in North Carolina there’s a guy that has a Tar Heel hat on, a Tar Heel sweatshirt, probably Tar Heel socks but I can’t see them. I just look at that and think ‘Yeah, I’m going to be there.’
I would ask a Tar Heel fan about a game and they would say ‘Yeah, we should have won.’ They didn’t know I was going there, because I wanted to see if they were true fans. It’s like everybody you ask is a Tar Heel fan. It’s fun to now be a part of that.