Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Stegall discusses unofficial visit with Tar Heels

You might remember Concord First Assembly senior Brandon Stegall, whom coach Mike Minter moved from his normal safety position (he also plays quarterback) to cornerback a couple of weeks ago so he could shadow talented wide receiver Tehvyn Brantley. Minter figured that way, he could interest colleges in his 6-foot-1, 180-pound player.

It worked. Stegall, with help, held Brantley to no receptions. North Carolina, which has already offered Brantley a scholarship, asked for Stegall’s game film and transcripts. And last weekend, the Tar Heels had him up for the season-opening Citadel game, on an unofficial visit.

Players get five official visits—no more than one to each school—where the school can house them and feed them over the weekend. Unofficials don’t have such perks, but do allow a kid to check out the school and its facilities.

I thought it would be interesting to see a player’s-eye view of such a trip, and Stegall, well-spoken for his age, provided one, saying in an email that he had “nothing but good things to say” about the trip:

“The coaching staff was very friendly. The facilities were more impressive than I remember them being when I went up there with my brother in the eighth grade.

Marcus Berry, the Director of Player Personnel, is the one who we have had our contact with so far. He greeted us when we arrived. He showed me a lot of attention and spent a lot of time with me and my parents during my visit. He told us that the assistant coaches had viewed my film and liked what they had seen.

“I was really impressed with the school spirit and atmosphere that was shown during the game. Even when Carolina was up by 40 points almost every fan was still cheering. I really liked that, because school pride is very important to me.

“I went into the locker room after the game, where Mr. Berry and I talked a bit more. He asked me that if they were to offer me right now what I would say. My immediate response was yes! Mr. Berry said he was going to try his best to get me there.

“He also introduced me to the defensive coordinator, coach (Everett) Withers. Mr. Berry attempted to get me in to meet coach (Butch) Davis, but was unable to because coach Davis was still with the media.

Mr. Berry also told me that whenever I want to come back to North Carolina all I have to do is call him. He also told me that I could have as many unofficial visits as I wanted at UNC, which I plan on doing.

“Visiting Chapel Hill was a great experience! I hope in the near future that they schedule me an official visit as well.”

This weekend, Stegall will take an unofficial visit to Liberty for a game. His mother is from Lynchburg, Va., and he has many relatives there, making the Flames a strong contender.

--Stan Olson

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