MOBILE, Ala. — After North Carolina was placed on NCAA probation and received a one-year bowl ban last March, linebacker Kevin Reddick received overtures from several schools asking him to transfer.
Among them: defending national champion Alabama.
But Reddick turned down the offers and rode out the storm at North Carolina, saying he did not want to desert his boys.
He also had a girl in mind Kami, Reddicks 3-year-old daughter.
I wouldnt do that to teammates, Reddick said Wednesday after a Senior Bowl practice. Plus, I have my daughter in North Carolina, so I wanted to be close.
Reddick and the rest of the Tar Heel seniors who were given the option by the NCAA to transfer and be eligible at their new school immediately stayed in Chapel Hill to begin the rebuilding process under new coach Larry Fedora.
The Tar Heels finished 8-4 and atop the Coastal Division standings, but could not play in the ACC title game in Charlotte because of the postseason ban. Meanwhile, Alabama won its second consecutive national championship and third in four years.
But Reddick said he did not second-guess himself as he watched the Crimson Tide take apart Notre Dame in the BCS title game.
Nah, Reddick said. I already knew I wanted to stay with my boys back in school.
But hes moving on now, hopeful a strong showing in Mobile this week will improve his draft status.
Reddick, an inside linebacker, is projected to be a mid-round pick. But he could go as high as the second round if he shows scouts he can get off blocks an issue at times in college.
Ive been training on that, said Reddick, who has been preparing in Florida for the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. And I did better this week than I had all year.
There also are questions about Reddicks speed, as noted by Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen, whose staff is coaching Reddick and the rest of the North squad.
I like him. I think hes a good football player. Hes got instincts. Hes tough, Allen said Wednesday. I think the thing you have to look at is, hows his overall speed? But Ive seen some really good things out of him this week.
Said Reddick: Thats my biggest thing when Im training now, just working on my speed. All the other stuff the bag drills I could do that in my sleep.
Reddick, a solid 6-1 and 246 pounds, would not say what his goal is for the 40-yard dash at next months Combine.
Lets just have that to be continued, he said. Make sure you watch on that day.
Reddick grew up in New Bern and spent a season at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy before enrolling at North Carolina in 2009 and starting seven games as a freshman. Reddick led the team in tackles as a sophomore and was second the past two seasons.
Reddick was not involved in the agent or academic scandals that led to the NCAA sanctions. When Fedora told the rising seniors about their option to transfer at a team meeting last year, Reddick said he was the first to stand up and say he was staying put.
In addition to Alabama, assistant coaches at Tennessee and Texas Tech also called.
But Reddick passed on the chance to jump ship, remaining true to his boys, girl and school. He watched third-place Georgia Tech Miami also was ineligible for the postseason play for the ACC title.
It happens, man, Reddick said. At least the guys know now what theyve got to fight for next year. We left off with a good an OK mark and they know what theyve got to do next year.