Few states finer than Carolina
Updated: May 31, 2002, 12:39 PM ETBy By Tom Lemming, ESPN.com college football recruiting analyst | ESPN.com
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., April 6 -- Just like last year, North Carolina is loaded with talent and has great players at every position. So it's easy to see why UNC and N.C. State are on the upswing, and why Tennessee, FSU, Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State are all heavily recruiting the state. In fact, there are so many blue-chip prospects here that I'll need to come back in June to see the players I missed this time around. After landing in Charlotte, I met with probably the two top players in the city: QB Chris Leak (6-1, 205) of Independence H.S., one of the most highly recruited signal-callers nationally; and OL Tripp Carroll (6-5, 290) of Myers Park H.S. Then I drove over to Channel 6 studios to film a Sports Extra segment; the station had been following my road trip on ESPN.com and wanted to have me appear on the show when I was in town. Next I drove to Chapel Hill where a prospects camp was taking place. After the players were finished for the day, I had a chance to interview a number of them. Among the prospects who impressed me most: WR Ray Gonzalez (5-11, 180) of Fayetteville's Britt H.S.; QB Brad Roach (6-6, 205) of Williamston; TE Jon Hamlett (6-5, 260, UNC commit) of Forest, Va.; DB Dequarius Jackson (5-10, 170) of Britt; William Roach (no relation to Brad) a 6-4, 215-pound TE from Raleigh's Garner Senior H.S.; one of the top five players in North Carolina, WR Mike Mason (6-0, 175, 4.41 40, 10.6 100 meters, UNC commit) of Rocky Mount; probably the top player in Virginia, ATH/LB Xavier Adibi of Hampton's Phoebus H.S., who had 100 tackles and 22 sacks last season; OL William Brown (6-5, 270) of Boonville; OL Virgil Black (6-5, 320) of Lexington, who has quick feet, bench-presses 430 and will be a big-time player; DB/KR Quinton Person of Bethel, who was very quick on film and has been offered by UNC; TE Jon Stupar (6-5, 250, 4.8) of State College, Pa., one of the big sleepers this year whose father played at Penn State and whose uncle Jeff Hostetler played QB at West Virginia and in the NFL for years; and RB Oreon Mayfield of Gastonia's Ashbrook H.S.