Editors Note: Welcome to the first installment of RJ Princes recruiting blog. RJ will file entries with Keeping It Heel and give Tar Heel Nation an inside look into his life as a top offensive line prospect.
The Clemson Dilema by: RJ Prince
I’ve been on the offensive line since sophomore year, and I have had a lot of people tell me that I can (and should) try to pursue a career playing football. The Bulldogs had a great season, we won the state championship (which we played at “The Tar Pit”/Kenan Memorial Stadium), and after that season, I seriously began to set my sights on playing football at the collegiate level.
During the off-season after my sophomore year, I had about three schools recruiting me. First, Carson-Newman, which is where my dad played tight end in the early 80’s, Wingate, and UNC-Pembroke. Then, Coach Smith (my o-line coach) gave me a brochure to a camp to Clemson’s All-Position camp. Then I started thinking:
“Clemson has interest in me? This ain’t right?! Must have gave it to me by mistake?”
I either had the choice to spend my check I got from working that summer on the camp, or some football equipment. (Thank God I chose the camp) When I went to camp, I flipped the switch, impressed the coaches, worked my tail off, and at the end of the camp, I walked out of “Death Valley” with a full-ride scholarship offer. At the end of the summer, I was an up-and-coming recruit.
One of the things you probably didn’t know about me, before my recruiting process is that when I was coming out of middle school, and into high school, I really loved and wanted to attend Wake Forest. (Surprise, surprise) When my recruiting process was beginning to pick up steam, I really was looking forward to hearing from the Demon Deacons football program, but they never contacted me. (And now they are starting to……………………….….ehh too late)
Through the rest of the summer, and into my junior year. I visited Clemson, NC State, South Carolina, and North Carolina. I also got mail from powerhouse schools like Oklahoma St., Alabama, LSU, Mississippi St., Notre Dame, Stanford, and some Ivy League schools, and on an October game, I committed when Clemson beat the Tar Heels. (I feel weird after writing that, coincidence?) I have to admit, it was all out of hype. It’s Clemson, one of the top football programs in the country, one of the best stadiums with loud fans, any recruit would commit after experiencing that. And plus I had a little bit of pressure put on me. So, I pulled the trigger. When I was going back home, I had this dim feeling at the deepest part of my gut that I made a mistake, and I knew I wasn’t ready. I tried to ride it out for about three months and see if I felt any better with my decision, but no dice. Each day, I got more unsure.
During January and February, word came that Coach Kapilovic was coming to the school to visit. I believe it was when we were out for a professional day, Coach Akins, Coach Kap, and I sat down for a good 30-minute conversation. He told me the staff was fired up after watching my film, and they showed me more love that Clemson ever showed me in all my visits combined! I was interested in UNC! UNC is the perfect school for me in terms of academics and athletics. I FELL in LOVE! Clemson and UNC were dead-locked at that time. So I decided to go down and visit Clemson one last time. While I was there, I saw a whole other side to their program unlike on game day. I knew I had to take back that verbal commitment. About two weeks later, I went up to the UNC Junior Day, featuring the men’s basketball team play arch-rival Duke (another big-time contender for my services, I’ll tell you about it in the next journal entry) at the discretion of Clemson’s coaching staff.
About a week later, I decommitted from Clemson University, and my recruiting saga opened back up……………………….
Coming Soon: NCDT’13 & The Tar Heel Revolution! (Phase 2 of Recruiting Process)
(Follow-up days after I decommitted from Clemson, Phase 2 of Recruiting Process, The Decision, The 2013 NC Dream Team/NCDT’13, and Tar Heel Football!)