Entry #10: T.J., Travis, Marquise
During Shrine Bowl week, T.J. Thrope, Marquise Williams, Travis Riley, Shawn Underwood, and I were in Travis’ room chilling. We were talking about everything teenagers talk about.
We started talking about what each other look like when they play. We were talking about how Marquise runs so stiff that when he jukes somebody he’s standing in the same direction. We were talking about how Travis just runs through things, like if someone threw a couch on the field he’d just run through it. We couldn’t find anything about T.J., because he’s a smooth dude.
Joking around is a big part of the friendship we’ve built during the recruiting process.
T.J., Marquise, and I hit it off immediately. I first met them at the VTO Combine a year ago.
When I got to the VTO combine, I had no idea who T.J. was or that he was committed to UNC like me. He came out of nowhere yelling “Teammate!” I said to myself “Who is this little guy?” We introduced each other and immediately started joking around. He said “I messed up my back, so I can’t do anything.” So I said, “Alright, I’ll hold it down for UNC.” As soon as the events started, I was doing my thing and I could hear T.J. yelling “That’s my teammate!”
T.J. and I meshed so well so quickly, because of our personalities. I’m a goofy kind of guy. He’s a more chilled, relaxed guy. And we both like to talk and don’t take each other too seriously. Our personalities really balance each other.
That same day, I made Marquise laugh the first five seconds I met him. He said: “This dude is crazy.”
For the people that don’t really know Marquise, he’s the type of guy that knows what he’s going to do before he does it. For example, at the spring game he told me “Bro, I’m about to score.” I said, “Okay, we’ll see.” In the game he scored on a 50-yard touchdown run. But that’s Marquise – he’s very confident and that’s what I like about him. He has the mentality that I do that he wants to take everything over and be the man.
After the VTO Combine, T.J., Marquise, Christian LeMay, and I were texting each other trying to decide which Shrine Bowl Combine we were going to go to. We just decided to meet up at the one in Mebane. We all met up there and tore that combine up.
At the Shrine Bowl Combine, I met Travis. I knew Travis had committed to UNC because of Scout.com, but I had never seen him in-person. My first thought when I saw him was “Dang, you’re big.”
During the recruiting process, I bonded the most with Travis. He and I talked every day. Even though he was in Kannapolis, we were saying to each other “Man, we can’t wait to get there.” He said, “I’m going to be all about my books.”
I’m trying to get in and out of college. I’ve seen what it’s like not to do right. Travis is the type of guy that will help me keep my head on straight while I’m in college.
Before he committed during the summer, Marquise told T.J. and I that he was going to commit to UNC – I don’t think he told anybody else. He said, “Bro, I’m going to be a Tar Heel, because ya’ll my dudes and ya’ll are going there. But I just want to make it fun with this press conference. But don’t worry – I’m a Tar Heel, bro.” I told him “Okay good, because if you played in the ACC, I was going to switch to defense and I was going to eat you up.”
Marquise’s recruitment got real crazy. I remember one day when I was working out T.J. called me and said “Bro, Marquise is talking about going to Virginia Tech on us.” I said, “What?!” I hung up with T.J. and texted Marquise: “If you don’t go to Carolina, please don’t stay in the ACC.” He called me five minutes later and said “Bro, don’t even worry about it. I’m not going to Virginia Tech. All the people keep talking, but I’m not going there.”
When I get to UNC, T.J., Travis, and Marquise – along with Tyler Alberts and Tim Scott – are the guys I’ll probably be closest to and I really see hanging out with a lot.
Speaking of getting to UNC, T.J. gave me a glimpse of what I’m in for. He said “It’s no joke. My first day, I passed out.” I was like “What?!” T.J. passing out is serious, because he’s in-shape. So I’m just preparing myself for what I have to walk into.