James "Cooter" Arnold became the 17th commitment from the class of 2005 for John Bunting and the North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday. The 5-foot-10 177-pound star from Davie County High School in Mocksville, N.C., could turn out to be one of UNC’s most important recruits this year based on his natural athletic ability to play any number of positions.
Arnold has run wild so far this season for undefeated Davie County, who stands at 11-0 heading into the first round of the Class 4-A playoffs Friday night. Arnold starts at quarterback for the War Eagles, but he’s been counted on more often than not to run the ball. Arnold has rushed for 1,900 yards and 26 touchdowns.
While Arnold says that UNC is recruiting him as a running back, he could very well end up on the defensive side of the ball in college. As a cornerback this year, Arnold has eight interceptions and three fumble recoveries, including two of those being returned for touchdowns.
One of the main reasons Arnold decided on UNC was the influence of defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders.
“Well, (Sanders) called me a couple times, and he’s real cool,” Arnold said. “Whenever we talked, it wasn’t all about football. He would always talk to me more as a friend than say as a recruiter.”
When all was said and done, Arnold’s decision came down to UNC and Wake Forest, despite having scholarship offers from the likes of Clemson, and ECU in addition to his two finalists.
“When looking at all of my options, UNC offered the best opportunity for me to play,” Arnold said.
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