The Drive Wednesday 2-6-13 – Larry Fedora talks with The Drive about the Tar Heels biggest needs during this recruitment period, how he is getting a lock on the kids from North Carolina, and we get his sales pitch that he gives to his recruits.
Coming off of his first full year of recruiting, Larry Fedora, was eager to tell the guys what he thought he accomplished with this year’s class.
“We obviously needed to bring some guys in on the defensive line, and we needed to being some more guys into the offensive line. And then, when Gio (Bernard) left it gave us a whole there that we needed to bring in two running backs. And then, obviously, the quarterback was very important to us.”
He then addressed why he thought having a presence throughout the state of North Carolina is so crucial to his recruiting philosophy.
“It’s a big help. We’re ging to continue to do it. We’re coming back to Charlotte this year. We’re going to go to Greensboro for a scrimmage. I think the more we can get out around the state and make sure that our fans can touch and see our guys, the better it’s going to be. It’s about building relationships and it doesn’t happen overnight. We’re going to work extremely hard at it. We’ve got a coach that has a piece of North Carolina, so that the entire state’s covered and we’re not going to leave a stone unturned.”
Now that the threat of possible impending NCAA sanctions is no longer lingering over his program, he explained how much of a positive impact that had on his ability to recruit kids.
“It didn’t even come up in a single home’ not one time that I can remember. So that, obviously, make it a lot easier. On the back end of that, though, because of the limited numbers, we have a much smaller margin of error for us. So we have to do a tremendous job of evaluating. We can’t miss.”
Fedora had been linked to several other jobs at season’s end, most notably Tennessee, and has moved around quite a bit over the last few years of his career. He was quick to justify those moves and reassure Tar Heel nation this is where he wants to be.
“Every one of those moves had been (made) to get to where I am. That’s what it was all about. It was about, for me, becoming a Division I coach at a BCS Conference where I could win a National Championship. And I am in that position now. So I don’t know what else to tell you. That is part of the profession if you want to move up (in the business). I sacrificed, and my family sacrificed, to be able to make those moves so that we could get to where we are today. So I am extremely happy about that and where we are.”
The state of North Carolina has produced some incredible football talent over the last few years, and he explained how imperative it is to keep that homegrown talent here in the state.
“It’s not going to happen overnight. We’re not going to lock the borders up and nobody leaves the state overnight. That’s going to take time. That’s going to take us being being successful on the football field. That’s going to take building relationships in the state so that kids get excited and realize that (they) can reach every dream and goal right here in the state of North Carolina. I’m not telling kids they have to come to just the University of North Carolina. I’m just telling them to take pride in their state. How much better would the college football be in the state of North Carolina, if all those kids just stayed in the state?”
And lastly, before he left us, he gave us a glimpse of what a recruit would be getting if they chose to play football at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“First of all, let’s just talk about how there are very few places where you can get a world-class education and play football at the highest level, and North Carolina is one of them. There aren’t very many. You can count them on one hand in the entire country… Two, we have unbelievable facilities, but facilities aren’t what does it… That’s one of the things on the outside, but everybody at this level has great facilities. So then it boils down to what kind of people are in the buildings that we have. Are we truly going to take an interest in your life? Are we truly going to take care of you while you’re here? And the proof is only in the pudding. I can sell it, but I have to be able to show that over time… When they take the air out of the football, and that’s what happens to everybody at some point in their life, and you have to live in your state. You better be ready to be taken care of by the people where you went to school. And that’s going to be at the University of North Carolina.”
This is an incredibly busy time for the coach, but before he returned to the grind, he left us with one more pitch for UNC.
“Just come to Chapel Hill. I’m looking out of my window right now, and the sky is Carolina blue. It is beautiful and the sun is shining. Come to Chapel Hill and walk on Franklin Street. I mean, this is a college town, and there’s a lot of universities where you don’t get a true college experience. This is a place that you get a world-class education, you play football at the highest level and you live in a college town.”