North Carolina

UNC walk-ons filling key offensive roles

Posted September 5, 2012

— North Carolina track star Roy Smith doesn’t have a football bio but after Saturday’s debut against Elon there is bound to be one in the works.

“For the first one I was real nervous in front of all the people,” said Smith. “I looked at the sideline a lot to Coach [Larry] Fedora and he told me to calm down.”

Roy Smith Summers: UNC walk-ons filling key offensive roles

Smith approached Fedora about walking on the football team in April. Smith, then a sophomore was in his second year with the track team. His freshman year he took second at the State Championship track meet in the 400 meter hurdles.

“He said do you have the guts? And I said yes. But at first he didn’t think I could do it,” Smith admitted with a laugh.

Smith spent the summer studying football, a sport he hadn’t played in two years.

“I died out here the first practice, I just told myself to work hard every day and it would eventually come to me,” said Smith.

And it did, in his first collegiate game Smith returned six punts for 127 yards and had a catch for seven yards.

“Basically believing in me, and my teammates believing in me and my coaches believing in me, as long as I have those three things then I believe I should be fine every Saturday,” Smith said.

Smith isn’t the only dual sport athlete on the football team. Lacrosse midfielder Mark McNeill walked on for a second season this summer.

“I didn’t really get to play a lot last year so I thought this year I would have an opportunity to contribute,” said McNeill.

Both Smith and McNeill have a lot of opportunity in Fedora’s spread offense and neither of them could stop smiling thinking about it.

“I definitely had butterflies at first but you know once those first few plays got out I felt more comfortable,” said McNeill. “It was definitely exciting. I’ll always remember my first college game.”

32 Comments

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  • douggie64 Sep 7, 2012

    Awwwwww, gotta cut the woofies a little slack here. They threw up all over themselves on national TV, lost to a MEDIOCRE UT team, and then had to deal with the NCAA clearing UNC "thus far". Now they're staring 0-2 in the face, as UCONN will be no cakewalk and they could lose to 2 straight teams that UNC has beaten the last time they recently played. They're "all world" secondary got bytch slapped too....and remember, they are a "football school" (though bass fishing school would be more appropriate). And then their "best buddy" the NCAA "picked on" their star recruit and you know Swofford and UNC are somehow behind it (giggles). So yeah, the "Red Rage" has had a BAAAAAAAD week, LOL.

  • kornfan2448 Sep 6, 2012

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    Good grief! It's getting to the point that I almost want to pull for State to win. That way, even if only for a few moments, they can divert their attention to their beloved Wolfpack and quit their mindless and rhetorical gibberish. Nah, that'd just be silly, I speak foolishly sometimes.

  • CarolinaMike Sep 6, 2012

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    Amen, Brother...Amen

  • CarolinaMike Sep 6, 2012

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    Hey Carla; If you were talking about "Reasonable'" people your advice would be taken to heart...but these are STATE fans you are trying to educate. I see that you have "towel boy" status. Just keep reading for a while and you will see what I mean...nice try ,though.

  • CarolinaMike Sep 6, 2012

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    Now That's FUNNY!! LOL

  • BeastOnTheHill Sep 6, 2012

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    +1

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again02 Sep 6, 2012

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    Oh, Dear Lord......

  • heelsforever Sep 6, 2012

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    Next time you might consider quoting the original comment or starting your comment with the offending commentator's name. I initially thought you were calling me stupid.

    BTW, Heels fans, please don't try to talk Fack pans out of contacting the NCAA.

  • bourboNCarolina Sep 6, 2012

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    Well said. And Roy Smith has complied with the "Bear Bryant Rule" and only played the sport he was on scholarship for (track and field) for his first years of college. After two years a track and field athlete can play on the football team while using his track and field scholarship without taking a scholarship away from the football program.

  • UNCW23 Sep 6, 2012

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    You are just stupid. Once an athlete is on scholarship in another sport for two years, he/she can play amother sport without it counting towards that sport. Considering Fedora did not know who Roy Smith was and Larry wasn't the coach two years ago it would have been difficult for him to have recruited Roy. It is amazing how stupid most MOO U fans seem to be. No wonder the school is ranked as the 8th easist school in the US

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