Durham Hillside offensive tackle Emanuel McGirt has decided to reopen the recruiting process after verbally committing to North Carolina on June 17. The Tar Heels are not out of the running for the 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior, but the field just got a little more crowded.
McGirt said the finalists are UNC, N.C. State, Georgia and LSU.
“I think I rushed into it (decision), and I just want to take my time and make sure I make the right decision,” he said.
McGirt said all four have the qualities he’s looking for: “good coaching, good academics and give him a chance to play and contribute.” In-state schools have no advantage over out of state.
“I don’t care either way,” he said. “It would be good to be closer to home, but I’m more interested in the best school for me.”
McGirt is ranked by 247Sports.com as the No. 26 offensive tackle nationally and No. 9 best player in the state for the 2015 class. Others have him listed as a three-star prospect on a scale of five.
After what some scouts called a “slow recruiting process,” the offers picked up over the summer. McGirt reportedly received 15 Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers, including Florida, Duke, East Carolina, Miami and Tennessee.
McGirt was a two-sport athlete (basketball and football) until he decided to concentrate on just the gridiron. It wasn’t an easy decision.
“Basketball is actually my favorite sport,” he said, “but I feel I’m better off playing football.”
The Hornets are a disappointing 0-2 after losses to 4A power New Bern and 3A state champion Southern. But the four-time PAC-6 champions are still the favorite to win a fifth straight title.
McGirt says he knows where Hillside will be in December.
“I know we’ll be playing (in the playoffs) in December,” he said. “We can’t let two games define our season. It’s not over.”’