Entry #3: College Prep
After I made my decision, there was still a lot of work to be done.
First, there’s the NCAA Clearinghouse paperwork, and you have to be careful with that. I didn’t start off on the right foot when I registered. For example, I put “entering winter,” because I thought, “We play football in the winter.” So I had to go back and change it to “fall.”
Other than that, everything was good because I had a lot of guidance.
Actually, it all started with a Duke counselor over the phone two weeks before my junior season kicked off. Duke took my grades, broke them all down, and let me know which classes were core classes and which weren’t. He told me what my core GPA was, what else I needed to take, and what I needed to get in the SAT.
North Carolina actually stepped in and started helping me in July before my senior season, a few months after I committed. During a visit, Coach “Mo” came in with documents from an academic counselor saying what I needed to do. I didn’t have to adjust my schedule, because I was already set to take the rest of my required classes. Plus, in my final semester I was scheduled to take a chemistry class that wasn’t required, as an extra core class, in case I slipped up in the math I’m taking the same semester (progress reports came out and I’m smashing both classes, so I don’t have to worry about it). I did have to retake the SAT, though.
I took the SAT for the first time the April after I committed. Taking it the first time was scary, but getting the score back was even scarier. I was thinking, “Oh man, I didn’t make the score I needed. What am I going to do?”
So I prepared and I took an SAT class. When I took it again in November I was like, “Ok, I got this.” It was like going into a football game – I was focused and ready to try my best. I did it and knocked it out.
I was waiting patiently for the score to come back. Playing “Call of Duty” one day, I thought, “What’s today’s date? Oh, man, my SAT score came in.” So I went to the website on my PS3, I scrolled down, and I got the required score. I called my coach and we were celebrating for a little bit. And I called Coach “Mo” and he was excited.
After I had my academics in order, it was about time to focus on preparing physically for UNC. But after my senior football season ended, you know what I did to prepare? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. After the football season ended – which it shouldn’t have ended so early because honestly we should have been playing Hillside in the state championship game but our team wasn’t mentally there – I was so upset that I took a month off and I just sat there.
I finally got back into the weight room and man did it kill me. My coach and I were getting at it just about every day and I eventually got back into the flow.
A couple of days after I signed my Letter-of-Intent, I received my workout book from UNC, which worried me at first. It wasn’t the actual workout so much, but all the extra stuff about calories and things I wasn’t familiar with. I was looking through the workout and didn’t know what half of the workouts were. All we do at my school is bench, squat, power clean, and dead lift.
I got into it and I got the hang of it. I have speed work and lifting – it’s a whole bunch of circuits of exercises. The stuff that targets a certain part of your body, that’s the stuff that hurts when you do it the first couple of times.
And I figured I might as well eat anything and everything, so I’ve been chewing on everything. Whatever is lying around, I’m eating. I don’t have to gain weight – I have to maintain what I have now. When I get there, they know what to do to me. Since I’m enrolling in May, they said by the time football season starts they’ll be able to put pounds on me.