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January 8, 2014
Five Recruits Enroll Early
This week, the start of classes began for North Carolina, as a few recruits have enrolled early, starting their journey in Chapel Hill.
With this, the football squad will be welcoming in five athletes to the football team, as they will be able to participate during the spring and get a chance to learn what Larry Fedora wants out of them and his system.
Several players received playing time early this last season, as Elijah Hood, Bentley Spain, Artis Allen, M.J. Stewart, and Brandon Fritts all look to have the same effect early on in their careers.
Here is what the players had to say about enrolling early at Chapel Hill, what they liked about the university, and what they expect to do coming in the spring.
"I'm really comfortable with the staff and I love it here. It is really close to home, my family can get to games a lot easier. Everything else, it's a beautiful place that is really comfortable."
"Just felt like it was God's call, telling me that I don't have to go that far to be successful, you can do big things here. I just want to do something for my state."
Hood is a physical running back and one, with his early enroll to UNC, could really thrive on early in his career.
With the loss to running back A.J. Blue, Hood certainly could provide the physical power running back for the Tar Heels, along with sophomore Khris Francis, while T.J. Logan provides the speed.
Hood ran last year for 3,640 yards and had 53 touchdowns, while gathering several awards, including NC Player of the Year.
"I could have graduated high school almost before my fall season. I had one class this fall semester that I could have done earlier and I just really felt that it was the best thing for me to do, both football wise and academically, because I think I'm going to try to go to graduate school, so this will give me a good head start on that too."
Spain is a solid player on the offensive line and will be a name that Tar Heel fans should remember hearing about. Spain will have some early competition with other players such as R.J. Prince and Caleb Samuel, but Spain is a physical player on the line; one that can certainly help build an offense around.
The fact that he is coming in early for the Tar Heels is even better with players such as James Hurst graduating and Russell Bodine leaving early for the draft. He certainly can come in during the spring and provide a needed lift early on.
"Once I started to develop a relationship with the coaches, I really saw that I think this is a great place to be place for football and I feel like we are going to take off from here."
Artis comes in looking to make a mark at his position, but with hopefully nine players on the depth chart at the start of the season, coming in early certainly will help him. The loss of Tre Boston will hurt the Tar Heels and they will need someone young to help fill in roles on the secondary.
Artis could be that guy or at least one that could see playing time with his early entrée.
"I really want to get into spring ball and the system, learn the plays because I don't want to be an average guy. I want to be a guy that can contribute to the team."
Stewart was a work horse on the field this past season for Yorktown, as he did everything he could do for his team, both offensively and defensively.
Stewart looks to come in and contribute early for the Tar Heels and with the multiple skills he has to offer, has a chance to try to contribute possibly in other areas of the field at first. At cornerback, though, he can certainly come in a contribute much like Brian Walker did his freshman season.
However, as he said above, he wants to learn the system and contribute anyway he can for the team. With that attitude, coach Fedora certainly can find a way to get him on the field next season.
"I really like all the people here and I just got a really good feel for it when I visited and talked to a lot of people and I just thought this was a really great place and this is where I want to be."
Fritts coming in early could be a huge benefit for both North Carolina and to his career. As everyone knows, tight end Eric Ebron has left to enter the NFL draft.
Jack Tabb will be the senior tight end for UNC coming into the season, but Fritts can provide that wide receiver type tight end that can certainly expose a defense. With him and Avery Edwards, North Carolina certainly has weapons to replace one of the most explosive and talented tight ends in ACC history.
Fritts last year had 51 catches for 879 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging almost 17 yards per catch.