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Heels add more speed to roster

Eddy Landreth

By Eddy Landreth
Staff Writer
Speed is the name of the game in football, and Carolina is getting even faster with the addition of wide receiver Kendrick Davis of Charlotte’s Phillip O. Berry high school.

UNC redshirt freshman running back Romar Morris held the state class 2A record in the 100 meters (10.54 seconds) until Davis broke it as a junior with a time of 10.47.

“Track has helped me a lot,” said Davis, who is an incoming freshman at UNC. He will report on Monday for summer school and to begin working out with his new teammates.

“I won the state 100 meters, and it gave me more confidence with the talent I have,” Davis said.

Davis said he played one year of JV football and two years of varsity, so he is a relative newcomer to the game. But he is a quick learner in addition to being an elite wide receiver with his speed.

“I learned to be patient and to listen,” Davis said. “I had to learn to trust in myself. I had a problem with that when I first started playing receiver. As I got older, I learned to trust my ability.”

His answer to what he likes best about football is intriguing because he doesn’t identify one thing in particular.

“Just winning the game, the fans and the teamwork,” Davis said.

This is not to say he doesn’t enjoy getting the ball and using his speed to break away. It’s just that he sees the accomplishment through the lens of how it helps his team and his teammates.

“It’s indescribable to make a catch to win the game or to help them add to the score,” Davis said. “It’s a great feeling.”

He said that he expects to be given a chance to earn playing time this fall.

“They said my speed will play a big part in the offense, being able to run the slot receiver pretty well,” Davis said. “I’ve been thinking about it, but I’ve got to learn the playbook first.

“My ability with space is pretty good,” he said. “If I get the ball, it’s going to be hard to get me, with my speed and all.”

Davis said he understands that he will be surrounded by talented players at UNC, but that he welcomes the challenge.

“I’m going to be forced to compete, and that is what I like to do,” Davis said. “They’ve already told me I’m going to be competing for a return spot on kickoffs.”

He said the thrill of returning kicks is unique.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Davis said. “You can’t control what your body does. Once you catch the ball, it’s instinctive after that. You’re trying to find that opening, trying to find that right spot. It has to happen quickly, and you can’t be afraid to take it.”

Davis proved to be an interesting young man, open about the trepidation he feels as he gets closer to leaving home. Most macho football players wouldn’t admit to what is entirely human.

“I’m nervous; I’m nervous, 100 percent,” Davis said. “At first I was excited, but now that it’s about a week away and I’m leaving my friends right after high school … It’s a big transition – being at home and now being on my own.”

But he is also eager for the challenge on the field and in the classroom.

“I want to get accepted into the business school,” Davis said. “I’m a pretty good student. I graduated in the top 5 percent of my class.”

And he does have one other concern.

“I’ll probably come home a couple of weekends to keep my hair short – until I find a barber,” Davis said.

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