UNC Off and Running

National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Aug 8, 2006
Jamie Newberg, TheInsiders.com National Recruiting Analyst

The North Carolina Tar Heels are off to a good start in the all important recruiting wars. They are currently sitting on 16 commitments and will bring in 22-23 prospects on Signing Day, as well as re-signing a few players from last year that didn't quailfy. Lets take a closer look at what's going on in Chapel Hill.

Mike Paulus
Mike Paulus
Mike Paulus (6-5,208) – Commitment
Paulus (Syracuse, N.Y.) has great size and he will only get bigger and stronger at the next level. With that size Paulus also shows a terrific, lively arm. When he makes his drop and has the ability to plant and set his feet he can really put some velocity on the ball and shows a nice release. And he is accurate, especially on the short and intermediate routes. For his size he has decent mobility and shows the ability to throw on the run. Paulus also plays with poise.

Getting Paulus and getting him to commit early was big for UNC. First, he is one of the country's top quarterback prospects. Second, he is a name and a name that has attracted other players to the Tar Heels. So overall, this was a huge pickup and their biggest in recent memory.

Ryan Houston
Ryan Houston
Running Back
Ryan Houston (6-2, 250) – Commitment
Houston (Matthews, N.C.) is a load and I mean a load. He certainly has the size and he runs low, making him compact and powerful and very tough to bring down. Houston also has some nimble feet and sometimes he can surprise you with his shiftiness, especially for a back of his size. And he’s athletic. Defenders sometimes go low, diving at his ankles and he’ll just hurdle them. Speed isn’t his strength but for his size he certainly has very good football speed. At the next level, he could certainly play running back in the right system or be a dangerous fullback in an offense that uses the fullback in the running and passing game. Overall, he looks like the high school version of Jerome Bettis and is a talented, big back.

Daronte McNeil (Elizabeth City, N.C.) and Corey Darrington (Charlotte, N.C.) are two bigger backs to keep an eye on this fall with North Carolina.

Dwight Jones
Dwight Jones
Wide Receiver Dwight Jones (6-3, 210) – Commitment Jones (Burlington, N.C.) is the type of wide receiver that will do the dirty work for you. He'll go over the middle and make the tough grab in traffic knowing he is going to get punished by the secondary. Jones shows soft hands and excellent concentration. He doesn't have blazing top end speed but enough to get open and make plays in the open field. Jones also does a nice job of adjusting to the ball in the air. He is strong and physical.

UNC has offered Greg Little (Durham, N.C.) and Jason Barnes (Charlottle, N.C.). Little is a big-time athlete that may end up on the defensive side of the ball. It looks like UNC will have to battle Notre Dame and others for him. Barnes favors both the Tar Heels and Gamecocks at this point.

Wesley Saunders
Tight End
Wesley Saunders (Durham, N.C.) is one to watch for the Heels. He is a tight end/defensive line prospect and you have to like North Carolina's chances with him right now. They are battling Penn State, South Carolina and Wake Forest for him. Other tight end notables are Rob Gronkowski (Williamsville, N.Y.), Andrew Sczerba (Wilmington, De.), and Michael Byrd (Thomasville, N.C.). Gronkowski also likes Syracuse, Arizona, Boston College, Clemson, and Maryland.

Lamar Milstead
Lamar Milstead
Offensive Linemen Mike Dykes (6-4, 265), Cameron Holland (6-3, 290), Lamar Milstead (6-6, 290), Chris Gray (6-5, 260) – Commitments Milstead (Washington D.C.) and Gray (Landrum, S.C.) are two tackle prospects. Milstead has a great frame, long arms and good feet. He plays a tad high but that is to be expected when you have the height he has. Milstead is fairly quick off the ball, has nice leg drive and use his hands well in pass pro. Gray, as expected because he is smaller, is quicker of the two. He is quick off the ball and a powerful drive blocker. He plays aggressively and has a good motor.

Dykes (Pittsburgh, Pa.) could play either tackle or guard. He has good feet and balance and does a nice job of coming off the ball and driving the defensive lineman. Holland (Pittsburgh, Pa.) recently committed to UNC over Pitt. He will likely play guard in Chapel Hill.

William Brimfield
Defensive Tackle William Brimfield (6-5.5, 288), Miguel Chavis (6-4, 260) - Commitments Brimfield (Neeses, S.C.) has great size and he will certainly surprise you with his agility. He will also keep coming after you and plays hards. Brimfield is a fine athlete for a guy that size. Chavis (Fayetteville, N.C.) can play end or tackle. He has a great frame and great strength, especially in his upper body. Chavis needs to be more consistent in his play every down but the potential is obviously there.

The UNC nation is awaiting the decision of Tydreke Powell (Ahoskie, N.C.). He is favoring North Carolina over Miami, Auburn, and N.C. State at this time. Wesley Saunders and Ryan Houston could certainly end up playing this position too.

Defensive End Carlos Dunlap (North Charleston, S.C.) is one of the south's top defensive ends. Dunlap is open between the Tar Heels, Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina and Tennessee. Triston Dorty (Mount Ulla, N.C.) could emerge with a Tar Heel offer this fall.

Ryan Houston and Miguel Chavis could end up playing this position.

DaNorris Searcy

Linebacker Danorris Searcy (6-0, 195), Jonathan Smith (6-2, 195) – Commitments
Searcy (Decatur, Ga.) is talented enough to play on either side of the ball at the next level. His best attribute is his speed. I mean this kid has range and closing speed. Searcy can run north-south or down the line. He is at his best on the move and chasing the ball. He is physical and aggressive. The question is he big enough to play linebacker at the next level? He may be fast enough to play strong safety on defense. And he also has a chance to be a running back in college. Searcy has good size and speed for that position. He plays running back like linebacker - fast and hard. Searcy hits the hole hard and shows good vision and balance.

Smith (Durham, N.C.) has the frame to add some weight and be a big linebacker at the next level. Smith plays in coverage well, fights off blocks well and is tough against the run. He's patient and lets things come to him. Smith shows good tackling skills and fundamentals. At times he can be a big hitter. Smith is athletic and runs well, sideline to sideline.

Albert Craddock (High Point, N.C.) considers himself a soft commitment to North Carolina. He is also considering Auburn at this time.

UNC would love to add Quan Sturdivant (Oakboro, N.C.) to their linebacker commit list. He is leaning to UNC and Florida at this time.

Jarrell Miller (Fork Union, Va.)and Bruce Carter (Havelock, N.C.) are expected to enroll at UNC in January. They were signees from last season.

Emanuel Davis

Emanuel Davis (5-11, 188), Fonterrian Ingram (5-10.5, 184)
Davis (Manteo, N.C.) is a good looking athlete that plays on both sides of the ball in high school but he projects as a safety in Chapel Hill. Defensively, he is a hard hitting safety that loves to play in the box. He is tough in run support and is a physical defender that gets to the ball in a hurry.

Chris Culliver (Garner, N.C.) was at one time committed to the Wolfpack. He has since opened things up and he has an offer now from North Carolina. Danorris Searcy could also play safety for the Tar Heels.

UNC is recruiting C.J. Fleming (Highland Springs, Va.). He likes North Carolina, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee. Fleming should make a decision soon. His teammate, Cris Hill (Highland Springs, Va.) is another possibility. He is looking at the same set up schools.

LeCount Fantroy (New Berlin, N.Y., a signee from last year, will enroll in January.

Jay Wooten (6-3, 175) – Commitment
Wooten (Laurinburg, N.C.) is one of the south's top kickers. He was 8-13 on field goals and 70% of his kickoffs were touchbacks.

Related Stories
Paulus Returns from Camp
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Jul 17, 2006
Paulus to Work Out at UNC in July
 -by InsideCarolina.com  Jun 28, 2006
The Top 10 (QBs)
 -by FOXSportsRecruiting.com  Jun 21, 2006

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