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Notes From UNC's Pro Day

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UNC held its pro timing day and according to Inside Carolina hosted approximately 100 NFL personnel including several head coaches. Not a bad showing and a definite sign the program is on the right track. Now the only thing Butch Davis needs to do is keeping talented players from committing NCAA violations so they can actually display their talents on the field in meaningful games.

IC has a full rundown of the events of the day as well as quotes from the media sessions.

Some of the highlights from the drills include.

  • Robert Quinn ran a 4.59 forty....at 264 lbs! That is freakish and apparently done on a field with a slight incline.
  • T.J. Yates completed 110 of 112 passes thrown and Butch Davis thinks Yates will be able to hook up with an NFL team and "become the first Tar Heel QB to throw a pass in an NFL game." If that happens, Yates story is nothing short of remarkable.
  • Deunta Williams is still recovering from the fractured ankle suffered in the Music City Bowl and did not participate in drills.

The media portion of the day carried the most interest especially with Marvin Austin detailing his side of the story. The short version is Austin did not think he necessarily did anything wrong because the three trips to Miami(to visit Vontae Davis) were paid for by a person he described as a friend since his freshman year of high school.

“The person that paid for them I’ve known them since my freshman year of high school, and the rules state if you had a pre-existing relationship that if I’ve known you before my freshman year of high school, you could pay for me to do whatever, but like I said the NCAA never came out with a rationale, so I don’t exactly know. But I accepted things, and they said that were impermissible or whatever, and I paid the price for it.”

Austin sort of skirts the question about the trip to California with Cam Thomas saying he did not think he needed to tell UNC he was going there. He also said he did not think it was wrong that someone else paid for it. That strikes me as a tad naive or UNC did not do a very good job driving home the point on improper benefits. Austin also addressed the infamous Club Liv tweet and the notion that Twitter brought the NCAA to Chapel Hill.

“The NCAA, when they came to me with their inquiries, I believed that they were coming just to investigate because we had so many guys come back when we could have had a lot of guys leave as juniors, and I felt that they wanted to find out if anything happened with that situation, which nothing did. And when they got us in there, and questioned us, they asked me which trips I went on, and I told them the truth. And that’s how the trips and stuff came about. It wasn’t from a tweet or anything like that. That was somebody from the media who found a tweet. To be honest with you, the tweet was when I was actually in the airport, when I said I live in Club Liv, so I get the tenant rate. I was in the airport if you look at the tweet. I can pull my account back up. It was around 6:00 AM in the morning. I wasn’t even in Miami, and I wasn’t in the club or anything, but whoever got it made it say 3:00 AM or whatever. It was an unfortunate situation, and I’m passed it.”

You may recall that in late July, Doc wrote a post which essentially debunked the notion that Austin had tweeted the "tenant rate" line from Miami. At the time Doc wrote the cached version of the tweet had the incorrect timestamp of 3 AM instead of 6 AM which was actually the case. The media had used the 3 AM version as some kind of proof Austin was partying in Miami. Doc noted that Austin's timeline leading up the the infamous tweet indicated he in Washington, DC which made him being in Miami at 3 AM the next morning unlikely.  Austin also tweeted he was "about to hop on this bird" which could be correctly interpreted that he was at the airport. Why am I spending so much time on this? Because Doc post was right on the money and so many people, including ESPN's Erin Andrews a full six weeks later during the LSU game, were still peddling this tweet as some smoking gun. But don't mind us here, we are just bloggers without a shred of journalist integrity or something.

To Austin's credit he says all the right things and appears to be sincere in his apology for what happened. Austin does not think the NCAA provided rationale for his suspension and ultimate ineligibility. However Austin said it was his mistake and while he might disagree with how it went down, he learned some hard lessons during the experience.

“I learned that every decision you make you've got to make sure that you think it out, and make sure that it is the best decision for yourself and the people around you. Don’t be selfish, and don’t ever take the game for granted. Don’t ever take getting out there and playing for granted, because it’s a privilege, and it can be taken away from you, and I never want to go to that place again. I never want to be out of the game of football until my body says I can’t play anymore. I want to be out there on the field competing every day, and not being able to go out there and compete was the hardest thing for me. It was extremely hard not being able to go out and put my best foot forward for my team, but I hurt my teammates. I hurt a lot of people by the selfish acts that I had, but all in all I think those people have forgiven me and that’s all that matters.”

Ultimately it will be up to the individual Tar Heel fan to decide whether to forgive Austin, Quinn or Greg Little for their actions. The only thing any of these guys can do going forward is represent UNC on and off the field in the NFL.