Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fan reaction misses key point on Blake, Wichard

Some of the fan reaction to The News & Observer’s Wednesday story linking associate coach John Blake to agent Gary Wichard misses a key point. Many fans, in response, have pointed out that Wichard represents only one UNC player, Kentwan Balmer, who came up in the Butch Davis regime.

That criticism overlooks the fact that Davis came into a program bereft of talent. Balmer was San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2008 – UNC’s first first-rounder since Julius Peppers and Ryan Sims in 2002. Hakeem Nicks was a first-round pick in 2009 and Richard Quinn went in the second round. In 2010, Carolina didn’t have a player select in the top three rounds.

The 2011 NFL Draft will be different, with multiple UNC players considered first-round picks. It makes sense that agent would want to position himself to represent those Carolina players - and the NFL prospects to follow. The N&O’s story showed a pattern of communication between Blake and Wichard that follows their professional association, and the trip Marvin Austin took last summer to work out with Balmer, a trip that is likely an NCAA violation.

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