Positives out of NCAA probation? UNC finds them in recruiting

UNC football coach Larry Fedora told the AJC this week that the NCAA probation and penalties handed down earlier this month have actually been a “relief.”

How on Earth could Fedora say anything positive about a negative? It’s because North Carolina got assassinated on the recruiting trail while being under an internal and NCAA investigation for two long years.

“We were up against the unknown with recruiting kids,” Fedora said. “It’s hard to battle the unknown because people and other schools can say whatever they want. Now there’s really nothing they can say. It is what it is. Now we can move forward from it. It makes it a whole lot easier to recruit. People cannot use it against us in the future.”

UNC coach Larry Fedora said recruiting will be easier this year without the "unknown" factor of NCAA penalties hanging over the program (AP)

UNC coach Larry Fedora said recruiting will be easier this year without the "unknown" factor of NCAA penalties hanging over the program (AP)

North Carolina, not surprisingly, has been on a hot streak with recruiting since the NCAA finally revealed sanctions on March 12. In the past two weeks, the Tar Heels have landed the commitments of three prospects ranked 3-stars or higher, including Donnie Miles, a safety from North Gwinnett High School. Miles said the NCAA penalties, mainly a ban from a bowl game this season and the loss of 15 scholarships over a three-year period, did not factor into his consideration of UNC.

“I think a lot of the kids we’re trying to sign this year are relieved that that’s all it is [with the penalties],” Fedora said. “We’ve got a one-year bowl ban, and then it’s not really going to affect them. I think that’s the way a lot of them are looking at it.”

Unfortunately for North Carolina, it can’t go back and re-do its past two recruiting classes, which were greatly hindered while being under the dark clouds of speculation. There were all kinds of rumors flying around about the Tar Heels in the always vicious world of recruiting – stuff like they could get multiple years of bowl bans and that the parents of potential recruits may never see their kids play on TV.

Fedora, hired last December, did his best to salvage a respectable 2012 recruiting class, which included Flowery Branch QB Kanler Coker. However, the looming NCAA hammer caused some recruits to flee – 9 of 10 of the state of North Carolina’s top prospects signed with out-of-state schools, including the running back duo of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley with UGA.

North Carolina expects to be more successful with this year’s recruiting efforts.

Does UGA get both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall if UNC isn't in NCAA trouble?

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“There’s no doubt recruiting will be easier because you know what you’re dealing with [with the NCAA penalties] and you’re able to address that situation, whereas before you only knew what you knew,” Fedora said. “Before a couple of weeks ago, you didn’t know what you had to battle because people were throwing all kinds of things out there.”

Back to UNC’s 2012 class: One of Fedora’s prized recruits was Flowery Branch QB Kanler Coker, who was convinced to make a late switch of his commitment from East Carolina to North Carolina. Coker flew under the recruiting radar because he played in a run-oriented offense as a high school junior, then transferred to Flowery Branch as a senior to play in the Spread and blossomed.

“I tell you what: We were probably very fortunate with getting in on him late, and that he did fly under the radar because I think  if he had been playing in that offense for a few years, he would’ve been gone a long time ago before we got in there,” Fedora said. “Kanler was in a Wing-T offense, went to a Spread offense for his senior year, and just tore it up. He did tremendous. So I think a lot people really did not know about Kanler Coker . When you get around the young man, you find out how competitive he is. He has a tremendous will to win. He probably has that ‘it’ factor and all the intangibles that you look for in a great quarterback.”

Fedora said recruiting the state of Georgia is a top priority for his staff. What’s his message for this state’s 2013 recruits?

“I’d say things are changing at North Carolina,” Fedora said. “There’s a tremendous amount of excitement about the change. We’re going to bring a style of play on offense and defense that kids are going to love playing in, and we plan on winning championships. If you want to be part of that, and on top of it get a great education, you need to come to North Carolina.”

What do we think? This past year, for top recruits in the state of North Carolina, UNC’s loss (because of looming NCAA penalties) was the gain for schools such as Florida, UGA and Clemson. Timing is everything. Does UGA get both Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall without UNC’s woes? Remember both Gurley and Marshall were very high on UNC before things got serious with the NCAA.




– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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35 comments Add your comment


March 29th, 2012
11:00 am


March 29th, 2012
11:08 am

UNC would have landed one of those guys…. I wonder if Fedora is telling the recruits of the world class “tudor” program they have there. (Tutor to the rest of the world)

Big Crimson 75

March 29th, 2012
11:13 am

Why would any D-1(or whatever the hell their called now) Program hire John Blake??
UNC got what it deserved.
Butch Davis was an excellent Coach/recruiter @ the U — He did a great job bringing the U back from the dead following the Penalties from the Erickson regime. Davis didn’t need a scum-bag like John Blake to recruit in the ACC.
You run with dogs — you’re bound to get fleas!!

Paul in NH

March 29th, 2012
11:43 am

Big Crimson
You make a good point about John Blake – you would have thought that his nickname of “Black Santa” would have been a bit of a hint to UNC.

Paul in NH

March 29th, 2012
11:46 am

What is Fedora going to do with the top ranked QB recruits already in Chapel Hill? Brynn Renner had a good season as a R-SO and Marquise Williams was very highly rated out of HS.


March 29th, 2012
11:56 am

“I’d say things are changing at North Carolina,” Fedora said. “There’s a tremendous amount of excitement about the change. We’re going to bring a style of play on offense and defense that kids are going to love playing in, and we plan on winning championships. If you want to be part of that, and on top of it get a great education, you need to come to North Carolina.”

Sounds like he’s trying to make chicken salad out of chicken….


March 29th, 2012
11:59 am


FL Jacket

March 29th, 2012
12:02 pm

UNC got “The Hammer” from the NCAA???



March 29th, 2012
12:30 pm

Easy: SEC over ACC every time.


March 29th, 2012
1:30 pm

UNC is a basketball school. Period.

Park it yourself Metallica Breath

March 29th, 2012
2:01 pm

Marshall was always going to come to Georgia. Gurley I could see signing with the Heels, his hometown is pro-UNC.


March 29th, 2012
4:59 pm

UNC has shown that it can win in football. The style Fadora is bringing in will be exciting for players and fans.


March 29th, 2012
4:59 pm

Anyone who believes probation is good for recruiting is eating the same brownies that Rambo “accidentally” ate. LOL Thank god CMR has that extension!!! I project at least 10 Dawgs will be suspended for season opener.

Gorilla Biscuit

March 29th, 2012
5:27 pm

Speaking of brownies, to get suspended for a game because a girl in your car is found to have a joint in her purse is pretty harsh.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 29th, 2012
6:07 pm

All the UGA dawgs on spring break today? Come out from under the table columbus,Georgiee insider, and kingdaddy. LOL…we need more hate Nick Saban stuff and less drug articles.

Good thing Jordan Jenkins went to a safe place in Athens! What’s that smell.


March 29th, 2012
6:29 pm

Lane Kiffin, did I spell his last name right? “USC” recruiting, doesn’t look to bad, being under probation!
I hate that.

Tampa Gator

March 29th, 2012
6:45 pm

Got to say this…..I don’t want any Dawg fan to make a critical comment about Muschamp and his handling of players….ever…..again. Muschamp kicked Chris Martin (outstanding 5-star prospect at OLB) and Janoris Jenkins (the best player on the Gators D at the time) off the team….for a second violation of use of weed. GONE. PERIOD. END OF STORY. RIcht suspends his best player on D for 4 games…on his second offense….”Oh….it was in a cookie I ate.” Well….we know which coach believes in decipline and which one doesn’t…..and we also probably know which coach is more respected by his players……and it isn’t a current coach in Athens. If Rambo was a Gator….he would be applying for the supplemental draft right now…..not practicing and waiting for the heart of Georgia’s weak SEC schedule.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Who runs a stricter program?

March 29th, 2012
7:57 pm

Rambo was in a car with who had marijuana last year- got a game suspension even after passing a drug test.
Brent Callaway was arrested in a similar case, but the policeman searching him found marijuana on him- it was going to be handled “internally” according to the Alabama press report of 10-21-11.

Fail a drug test at one school- automatic suspension
Fail a drug test at any other school in SEC outside of UK- no one usually finds out, no games missed.

Athletes wanting a mulligan on drug usage should consider any SEC school outside of Athens or Lexington.

Question for Bama fans

March 29th, 2012
8:02 pm

Would you approve of having the SEC or NCAA let impartial parties conduct a minimum number of unannounced random drug tests during the year, with standardized penalties to follow depending on what strike a player is on?

Would you approve of a measure requiring each school to announce the number of first time drug test failures, with or without giving the names of the players involved?

That would level the playing field so to speak, and provide transparency to this process.

To Tampa Gator

March 29th, 2012
8:07 pm

I agree with you that Muschamp is much tougher discipline wise than Urban was, and has kicked some good talent to the curb, and is to be commended for that. I think you are attacking the wrong person here though. RIcht is not the coach giving free passes for the first drug failure. Right now, we have no way of knowing how many are flunking tests at other SEC schools. We have no idea of which schools are giving advance warning of coming tests. Until we are comparing apples to apples, it is unfair to criticize Richt.


March 29th, 2012
8:51 pm

re: question for bama fans
sure….sounds fine but how does that level the playing field?


March 29th, 2012
8:53 pm

Enter your comments here


March 29th, 2012
9:00 pm

Do you mean tetsing for all athletes at all schools or just Bama?

Say Whut

March 29th, 2012
9:33 pm

Considering UNC isn’t even the best team in a 25-mile radius of Chapel Hill, superstars like Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley were NEVER going there. It is a middle-diddle program and has always been no more. Look at their all-time record in Kenan Stadium. It ain’t that great! How many years in a row have they lost to N. C. State?


March 30th, 2012
6:40 am

Tampa Gator………the 2 players kicked off the team, was that done this spring?


March 30th, 2012
6:59 am

Mack brown did OK at UNC. In fact, he did pretty darned well. His last two season there they finished in the top 5 IIRC and absolutely owned NC, SC & Va. recruiting. UNC’s problem was the fact FSU was in the midst of one of the great runs in NCAA history at the time. I think Fedora can/will be successful there and they seem to have a fan base that’s starving for a winner. Lord knows they have the resources to compete with anyone and brand recognition few can rival. I read that Fedora is determined to bring “basketball on grass” to Chapel Hill, lol. Well, there ya go! Oughta be a smash hit with the wine & cheesers, eh? As far as a losing streak to NC State goes isn’t that what rivalries are all about? After looking at the overall head-to-head record I imagine the tar heels are due for a streak of their own. Looks like they had won about 7 in a row against their “little brothers” before the current streak began.

[...] Positives Out of NCAA Probation? UNC Finds Them In Recruiting (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) [...]


March 30th, 2012
10:31 am

Say Whut seems not to know his FB history.


March 30th, 2012
11:57 am

Fedora could do well there. The bar is pretty low. NC does put out a lot of good recruits that go elsewhere. if he starts getting some of those, they will be competitive.

Muschump is a failure

March 30th, 2012
12:20 pm

and your coach will find out that prison hurts worse than tennis elbow.

Muschump is a failure

March 30th, 2012
12:28 pm

North Carolina Football, while laughable, has been much, much, much, much, much, more succesful than South Carolina. I, like most of the country, am busy on Wednesday nights and miss the ACC game of the week, so I don’t know how obnoxious NC fans are. There is no way they are as bad as barely over .500 all time South Carolina fans who have a couple winning seasons and act like they’ve always been there.

Muschump is a failure

March 30th, 2012
12:30 pm

Does this article give any Tech fans positive insight on your probation, or the impending incineration of your vacated ACC trophy?


March 30th, 2012
5:04 pm

Muschump is a failure, yes it did. It lets me know that the NCAA is a total joke. I’m a believer in “Punishment fitting the Crime”. Miami will be the icing on the cake. Are you familiar with all of the cases at each school? I assume not because you believe there’s an “incinerator” involved. Keep trolling numbnut.


April 3rd, 2012
10:55 pm

Fadora can fix everthing if anyone can, Once he figured out that defence can win ball games Sounthern Miss went to the top. We’ll miss him at Southern Miss