Drafted in the 33rd round of the Major League Draft by the Cincinnati Reds last week, Curry was not signed right away. Instead, he has enrolled at Young Harris Junior College (Ga.) and will play baseball there while continuing to be evaluated by the Reds.
“He’s signed a baseball scholarship to go to Young Harris Junior College,” Wolfe said. “Evidently, the Reds told him he was a draft and follow guy. They wanted him to play a year of junior college before they were going to sign him."
Per NCAA rules, Curry will be eligible for a Major League contract at any time, as opposed to if he were to go to a Division I school where he would have to spend three years before exercising his professional opportunity.
Curry committed as a "greyshirt" to the Tar Heel football program this past February, meaning his scholarship at UNC would become effective in January instead of the previous August. His father, Buddy, was an all-conference linebacker at North Carolina and played professionally with the Atlanta Falcons.
“He’s a unique athlete," Wolfe said of Justin. "He’s obviously has the physical package at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. He’s clocked pretty consistently as a pitcher between 88-92 mph. But what makes him special is he’s a pitcher in baseball with the mentality of a linebacker in football. He’s competitive.”
On the diamond, Curry had an 8-1 record as a senior, with a 1.98 ERA and 65 strikeouts. On the gridiron, Curry recorded 100 tackles – 12 for loss, 16 sacks and over 20 quarterback hurries for the 12-1 Wolves – four-time defending Region 8AA Champions.
“It was a tough decision and only time will tell if it was the right decision. ... I think the draft made up the final decision in his mind. He loves both sports, but I think the draft convinced him he had a little more immediate future in baseball."
According to Wolfe, North Carolina head coach John Bunting has left the door open for Curry, who turns 18 this month, to come to UNC down the road if his baseball career doesn't pan out.
“He has a standing offer from Young Harris for pretty much the entire season, if he decided to opt out of football and pursue a baseball career," Wolfe said. "Coach Bunting told the family that if baseball doesn't workout, there is still probably going to be an opportunity to come up to UNC.
"If the Reds don't sign him after a year, I wouldn't be surprised if he turned back to football."
Justin Curry Profile