Heels get Quint-essential athlete

Quinton Person

Quinton Person says you can call him "Quint" or "Q" for short. Now North Carolina fans can just call him a Tar Heel.

Person, a 5-10, 180-pound senior at North Pitt (N.C.) High, became North Carolina's ninth known commitment, and their fifth from in state, for the 2003 recruiting class.

Person announced his decision Tuesday night, after taking a weekend to think about it on advice from North Pitt head coach Ken Whitehurst.

"I told my coach about it Friday, and he told me to think about it over the weekend," Person told IC on Thursday. "I told him that I was sure again on Monday, then again on Tuesday.

"So he called Coach Bunting and the three of us talked about it. Coach Bunting showed me they were glad to have me and that is a positive."

Person said despite being recruited by a number of schools – including offers from ECU, Wake Forest and Duke; in addition to interest from Maryland and Tennessee – in the end, it was a two team race for his services.

Those two were UNC and Virginia.

"Virginia came on strong and they had a lot to offer," Person said. "The distance from home wasn't a big factor.

"Other than UNC, it would have probably been Virginia. But really, in my heart I wanted to be at UNC. Academics played a big part because I knew I couldn't go wrong with the education you get there."

Person said UNC held the edge when it came to what mattered most to him.

"Their strength of schedule was big and the education was important," he said. "If you look, they are playing some of the top teams in the nation."

Person said that he was not in a rush to pick a school and his family fully supported whatever decision he made.

"It didn't bother me (picking a school), and my family told me to go where I wanted," Person said. "They told me I was the one who had to go to college and that I had to do what I had to do."

Person will make the move to quarterback this season after starting three years at running back for the Panthers, who went 10-3 and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA Class 2-A playoffs last season. He had 1,500 yards rushing, averaging 8.5 yards per carry and was named his conference's player of the year last season.

Person said he thought his time at quarterback should also help him improve his defensive skills.

"Playing quarterback this season will help a lot with reading things in the secondary next year. DBs have to know what the QB is doing at all times, and you have to kind of know their tendencies. I think it will help me read things better after playing a year at QB."

Person also averaged 25 yards on kickoff returns and 18 on punt returns, during an 18-touchdown season as a junior.

Person was recruited as an "athlete" by UNC, and exactly where he will play isn't certain.

Person said he talked several times with former North Pitt standout Clay Roberson, who is a red-shirt junior outside linebacker at UNC.

"Clay and I are cool, even though he graduated from North Pitt a while before I got here," Person said of his future teammate. "He told me to go where I'm comfortable. He said UNC really wanted me, and he told me it was a good program.

"He told me to make sure this was where I wanted to be."

Person said he planned to sign a binding national letter of intent on the first signing day in February.

Person, who will be in his fourth season as a starter, said he ran a 4.41- second speed in the 40, when he attended Duke's summer camp. He also tallied 83 tackles and broke up 22 passes at cornerback as a junior for the Panthers.

Person is a three-sport star at North Pitt as a member of the football, basketball and track teams.

He led the Panthers in the NCHSAA Class 2-A basketball championship game with 20 points on the short end of a two-point loss to Burlington Cummings, but was named the championship game MVP.

Person hasn't spoken much about his SAT scores, but a source close to him said he wants to improve a 1080, which he scored the day after his team's heartbreaking loss in the basketball championships.

However, Person said he has no plans to play basketball at North Carolina.

Person also runs the 100 and 200 meters in track and qualified for the 2-A championships in the 200.

North Pitt's first game this season is Aug. 23 at home against Washington High School in Bethel.

Q Stats:
40-time 4.41 at Duke camp
Bench 235-240
Squat 365

(Special thanks to Jeremy Shaw.)

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