The North Carolina Tar Heels received their second huge in-state commitment this week and might just have found the replacement for departed defensive end Julius Peppers.
"Marcus has good size and is difficult for the average player to handle," said Wilmington (N.C.) Laney head coach Chuck Martin of his star defensive end Marcus Hands. "He really enjoyed his visit to North Carolina during his junior season and it stuck with him. He committed to them back then, but decided to announce it now."
Hands, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end with awesome agility and a powerful and quick first step, chose the Tar Heels over offers from NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Penn State and many others.
"There were alot of schools interested in Marcus, I'll tell you that," said Martin. "He could have played anywhere."
Martin, who used to gameplan against Hands while at Jacksonville High School, understands why many are comparing his prodigy to Peppers.
"Well, he sure has the size," he said. "Julius is an amazing athlete. It's not everyone who can play football and basketball for North Carolina so that shows you how great an athlete he was. Marcus is the same type of athlete. He plays basketball now and once he hits a college weight room and adds good weight, he'll be tough to stop."
Hands joins wide receiver Mike Mason to form a solid 1-2 punch of in-state stars for UNC so far. Last season, Laney High School sent two players for D1 schools as safety Willie Davis committed to Virginia and athlete Rashaad Tindall signed with North Carolina.