GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Ben L. Smith junior tight end Eric Ebron wasted no time making his presence felt Saturday evening at the 'Super Six' Jamboree hosted by his school. Playing in the first scrimmage against Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor, the 6-5, 225-pounder recorded three touchdown receptions.
"It was actually mind-blowing for myself," said Ebron about his hat trick of scores. "I just went out and did my routes, did what I was supposed to do, and the ball met me there and I just took it in."
Smith faced off against another tough opponent in Winston-Salem (N.C.) Reynolds in its next scrimmage of the night, and while Ebron failed to find the end zone in the second scrimmage, he made a catch and was effective playing defensive end.
"The scrimmage (with Reynolds) was good," said Ebron. "We played a tough team, a playoff team, and we did our best that we possibly could. The team left it out there, but I think we need to work harder and get a little bit better at what we're doing here."
Ebron is quickly emerging as one of the hottest names among 2011 football prospects in the Tar Heel State.
Coming off a summer that included visits to multiple ACC campuses, Ebron is starting to see his recruiting interest picking up.
North Carolina was impressed enough with Ebron at their June camp that they verbally offered him, and sources tell TarHeelIllustrated.com that the UNC coaches will be extending a written scholarship offer to Ebron at the earliest possible time in September.
"Yeah. I've actually gotten scouted by (North) Carolina---the Tar Heels---and they've offered me, and I'm getting other looks as well," he said.
"Oh man, Carolina's camp is interesting, very interesting," Ebron added about UNC. "I liked everything. I liked the football players. They told me about the classrooms, the tutors, for days. Everything sounds real nice about Carolina. North Carolina is excellent. I like everything about it. I just moved down here, and everything is real nice there."
Having just moved to Greensboro from Rhode Island a little over a year go, Ebron is still getting used to his surroundings in the South, but he says he's gotten adjusted to his new home and likes it in North Carolina.
"Yeah, (I moved here) a year ago. I came from a little state, Rhode Island. Yeah, I do like it down here in North Carolina. It got a lot better once I got used to it," he said.
In addition to his visit to Chapel Hill, Ebron also recently traveled to nearby Winston-Salem for an unofficial to Wake Forest.
"We went down to Wake Forest about a month ago," he said. "They're looking at me as well, and they're talking about looking at me during the season."
Another school that Ebron says has shown some initial early interest in him is Duke, although he hasn't yet made a recruiting trip to Durham.
One school that has been a childhood favorite for Ebron, although they haven't yet started the process of recruiting him, is West Virginia.
"West Virginia, that's always been my oldest brother's favorite, and I told them that I'd go there and play for them when I get older, so West Virginia has always been my favorite school," Ebron said.
Ebron is hopeful that the Mountaineers and another ACC school will start showing interest soon.
"What I'm hoping is West Virginia and Boston College (will recruit me). That's what I'm looking for," he said.
While it's too early to know which schools will ultimately get involved in Ebron's recruitment, one thing that does appear certain is that he won't be making an early commitment.
In his own words, Ebron plans to take his time with the recruiting process, take official visits, and announce his decision sometime after the 2010 season.
"Yeah, I'll definitely stretch my recruitment until after my senior year," he said. "Yeah (I'd like to take officials). I'm just trying to pace through it. You know, I've still got two years to play football, so I'm just waiting."
Ebron is particularly happy about the fact that it appears his football talents will give him a chance to get a high-quality education somewhere for free.
"The biggest factor is education---I'm just trying to get an education," he said. "Football is just what I do, and it's helping me to boost my education further, so I like that."
A two-way player at the high school level who rarely comes off the field, Ebron projects as either a tight end or a defensive end at the collegiate level, and he enjoys both positions.
"Tight end definitely suits everything," he said. "Tight end and defensive end."
Times have been very tough for Ben L. Smith on the gridiron in recent years---having dropped 32 consecutive games going back to the 2006 season---but with young players like Ebron and junior tailback/safety Elijah Jordan in the mix, the Golden Eagles have optimism that they'll get back in the win column this season.
"We're trying to accomplish breaking this streak that we've got on our backs for three years," said Ebron. "We're working hard. All we've got to do is work harder so we can get this monkey off our back."
"We want more than to break the streak. As a team, I think we all want to go to the playoffs and farther," said Jordan. "Tonight was a good game. I mean, we played as hard as we could. I think everybody gave it their all. We can play a little bit better. We can work harder in the weight room and we can run more, and I think by August 21 we're going to have that first win."
Jordan, a 5-7, 170-pounder with a good burst of speed, accompanied Ebron on a recent trip to UNC, but right now it's a little early for him in terms of getting recruiting interest.
"I didn't go to any camps this summer, but I did just come from a scrimmage from North Carolina," he said.