Keeping it Heel sat down with Tar Heel commit from the 2013 class offensive lineman RJ Prince from Albemarle, NC.
Keeping it Heel: As your High School playing days at Albemarle are coming to an end, what will you miss most about being a Bulldog?
RJ Prince:The tradition of the school mostly. All the friends I’ve made, and probably not seeing them for a while, and playing football for them. People say that I will leave a lasting legacy on the city of Albemarle, and the high school. People say I’m one of the greatest to ever play for Albemarle, up there along TA McLendon. It’s just great to know I made my mark.
KIH: Your 3.5 GPA proves that you are the true definition of a student-athlete, how much did the stellar academic program at the University of North Carolina factor in your decision? Have you honed in on a major as of yet?
RP:UNC is one of the best academic schools in the nation. I wanted to play football for a school that is great in football, and get the best education as well. When you have a degree from Carolina, you’re most likely going to get the job.
KIH: UNC is putting together a top 10 recruiting class. Talk a little bit about the friendships that already have seemed to form between yourself and players like Mitch Trubisky, Jordan Fieulleteau and Ryan Switzer.
RP:We’re all already a band of brothers. It’s amazing how tight we’ve already become as teammates, and friends. We’re family now. We have each others backs, and we’re just counting down the days when we step on campus. I’ve also made good friends with Lucas Crowley. Me and him have that “O-Line”pact right now. We chat a lot on Facebook, so we’re always in touch. I also got to spend some time with Khris Francis, because we both went on our official visits at the same time. He is a great friend, one that I can trust every day. I’m going to try my best to make sure no one touches him, Mitch, or Ryan on the field. I’m extremely excited to know I’m going to be playing, dorming, and enjoying these next four years with them!
KIH: Clemson made a strong run at your services along with North Carolina, what were some of the factors that put UNC over the top and
lead you to your decision to become a Tar Heel?
RP:I realized that I wanted to stay in-state and play football. Carolina has been for the longest time, a “sleeping giant”in terms of the football program. It’s been called a “whine-and-cheese”school or a “basketball school”. UNC’s football culture has done a 180 degree tailspin in one year. The culture has turned around!Plus, you have an energizer in Coach Fedora coming to shake things up;I wanted to be a part of it! It was etched in stone when I was born! I’m a Tar Heel, born and bred, and I knew I made the right decision!
KIH: As a fellow offensive lineman, how do you feel when you see current Tar Heel Jonathan Cooper named as a finalist for the Outland Trophy?
RP:Mel Kiper Jr. said that UNC’s offensive line is the best in the country this year. James Hurst will be a first round pick next year (He could have been this year), Travis Bond, and Brennan Williams have great size and are some good NFL prospects. “Coop”is a very special person. He’s a good friend, he’s probably one of the most athletic interior linemen I’ve ever seen, and he gets the job done. I look up to him. It gives me inspiration to want to be the best that I can be as an offensive lineman.He deserves to win the Outland Trophy this year, no doubt. He is going to have a bright future!
KIH: What aspects of your game do you feel will need the most improvement in making the jump from High School to ACC football?
RP: Probably being more physical and working on my pass-block, and strength. NCAA Division 1 football is a whole different beast than high school. When you’re in high school, you’re a“man among boys”. In D1 football, you’re a “man among men”. When you’re a freshman, you’re kind of a “boy among men”, and you get acclimated to the system quickly. Playing for UNC will be a business. You have to continue to get bigger, faster, and stronger. I have to work on my mentality, and focus on not getting sidetracked. Just football and school. Mental toughness will be a key factor on my freshman year at Carolina. Like Paul “Bear”Bryant, one of the greatest football coaches ever, once said: “In order to see how a horse will pull, you must hook him up to a heavy load”. I want
to see how heavy a load I can pull, and be successful.
KIH: Tar Heel nation needs to know, what uniform number has garnered the most votes? Have you made your decision between 63, 64, 73 and 76?
RP:Some people want me to carry one with Brennan’s number, and Jonathan’s number, and Travis’ number. Keep voting.I will choose on Saturday. I’ll tweet a pic of me in the jersey on Saturday. 63 just doesn’t look like a “RJ”number to me (laugh). I don’t know what it is? All I know is, if I choose either 64, 73, or 76, I have to grow dreads. I might start on them next weekend too!