The North Carolina Tar Heels made Everett Golson a priority, and he made them his future Friday.
The coveted Myrtle Beach quarterback, a rising senior, made his college declaration at a Friday press conference at the school, committing to the Tar Heels over scholarship offers from a bevy of major college programs. Golson, who cannot sign with North Carolina until next February, is the first player in the Class of 2011 to commit to coach Butch Davis' Tar Heels.
North Carolina was one of the first schools to make a written scholarship offer to Golson when it was allowed last September. The Tar Heels haven't hidden their interest in the 6-foot, 175-pounder, offering him a scholarship through former Seahawks coach Scott Earley at the end of his sophomore campaign in 2008. It has long been expected that Golson would play for the Tar Heels, so Friday's news came as no surprise.
"It was always my dream to be a North Carolina Tar Heel," Golson said. "Right now I feel like I can seize the opportunity to do that."
Although his commitment is solid, Golson wouldn't rule out talking to or visiting other schools. Yet, he always knew where he wanted to be and decided to end his recruitment before it really began to heat up. By choosing his destination early, Golson can hopefully enjoy a stress-free senior year, while helping to recruit other players to join him in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Golson, a point guard on Myrtle Beach's basketball team, plans to continue his dual-sport career. He has been promised an opportunity to try out for North Carolina's basketball team by coach Roy Williams. However, Golson understands that, despite his fondness for basketball, football must now become his priority. He is widely considered one of the nation's best junior quarterback prospects, though his size will likely hurt his rating among recruiting Web sites like Rivals and Scout.
Golson has thrived in Myrtle Beach's spread offense, but will have a transition to a pro-style attack with the Tar Heels. He has rarely taken snaps from under center for the Seahawks and will have to learn how to make reads while dropping back into the pocket.
"It's an opportunity for him to learn a different style of offense, and I think it will make him a better quarterback in the long run," Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. "They'll probably have to adapt to him as well. Once they get him up there they'll realize he's a pretty special talent in the shotgun. I think there will be some adjustments from their side and Everett's side.
"The best thing about is that he's a great kid. He's going to be a great leader. They're excited about that. And he's got a great arm. He can make all the throws and make all the reads."
Golson, a member of the 2009 Associated Press All-State team, completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,529 yards, 47 touchdowns and just three interceptions last fall. He has completed 659-of-1,061 (62 percent) of his career attempts for 9,872 yards, 126 touchdowns and 24 picks. He is 39-4 as a starter, winning the 2008 Class AAA state title and finishing as a runner up in 2009.
His career yardage total ranks 26th all-time, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations record book. Already the South Carolina career leader in passing touchdowns, Golson has an outside shot of breaking Chris Leak's national record of 185 with a huge senior campaign.
The Tar Heels return starting quarterback T.J. Yates, who will be a senior in 2010. Also returning is Yates' backup, sophomore Braden Hanson, and highly regarded freshman Bryn Renner, who redshirted as a true freshman last fall. Renner, who also plays baseball for the Tar Heels, was a consensus top-10 quarterback prospect in the Class of 2009.
"One thing about me is that I'm a competitor," Golson said. "Anywhere I go I'm going to have to compete for the spot.
"I'm going in there with the mentality of trying to be the starting quarterback of the North Carolina Tar Heels. There may be some things that come up that don't allow me to do that, but that's my mentality right now."