High School Football

Farmer's final decision: North Carolina

South Columbus (N.C.) standout Ethan Farmer made his decision to attend North Carolina several weeks ago - sort of.

In confidence, he told his father that he wanted to play for the Tar Heels, but the fondness for his other finalist, Clemson, started pulling his heart in different directions. The indecision didn't subside until he rolled out of bed Wednesday, National Signing Day.

"Something was telling me, 'Ethan, you've just got to go ahead [and pick North Carolina],' " Farmer said. "To me it felt good. I just decided I'm going to follow my dreams. ... I finally realized this is where I wanted to go.

"They are two good programs. They're known as two of the best in the ACC. It just boiled down to me having to pick North Carolina."

Farmer, a 6-foot-2, 257-pound defensive tackle/tight end, was split between the Tar Heels and Tigers as late as Tuesday night. His mother's fondness for Clemson made the decision harder. When he told his father last month that he was going to play at North Carolina, he didn't have the guts to tell his mom.

Still, North Carolina has always had a special place in his heart. That's ultimately why he signed a National Letter of Intent with the Tar Heels.

"I know it was a tough decision for him, but I kind of felt like he would pick North Carolina, because that was his childhood dream," Stallions coach Jake Fonvielle said. "If I was a betting man, that's what I would have bet."

Farmer grew up wanting to play basketball for the Tar Heels, a dream that father Greg Farmer sparked in his son's youth. Greg used to place a North Carolina toboggan in Ethan's crib each night.

Now North Carolina's 12th-best prospect is under the wing of Tar Heels coach Butch Davis. Farmer believes he'll start his career at tight end. Even though he's rated the nation's 16th tight end prospect, many recruiting analysts believe he'll eventually grow into a defensive tackle.

In North Carolina's 4-3 scheme, Farmer would likely have to play inside. To do that he'll likely need to add 30-40 pounds, meaning he will probably redshirt in 2010. Farmer wouldn't mind playing on either side of the ball.

"I think he's probably a defensive tackle," Fonvielle said. "They are going to evaluate him and see where he fits best in their system. That's where he'll go. He's going to need to work on his footwork. He's strong, and physically he's ready to go. Speed wise and size wise he'll be able to compete."

Farmer plans to enroll at UNC this summer to begin his college career. Another former Stallion, offensive lineman Greg Elleby, is already on the roster at North Carolina.

"Next year he'll be a senior and I'll be a freshman," Farmer said. "... It's going to be great. He's going to lead me the right way."