Today we're joined by Inside Carolina to discuss UNC defensive prospect Robert Quinn. Quinn took the 2010 season off after some swift NCAA sanctions. Greg Barnes, football beat writer for the Tar Heels, joins us today to discuss that and Quinn's Carolina career.
We started by discussing Quinn's position at North Carolina. With defensive linemen, specifically those that might be asked to switch positions in the pros, it's important to note if the prospect has ever played that position or is projected for that position.
"Butch Davis doesn't use streamlined positions on the defensive line such as rush tackle or weakside defensive end, so Quinn played both end positions in college," explains Barnes. "He was set to play primarily on the strong side as a junior after playing mostly on the weak side as a freshman and sophomore, but his rare combination of strength, size and speed allowed the coaching staff to move him around as needed. As a sophomore, he was just as likely to defend the run as he was to drop back into coverage in nickel sets."
The biggest red flag for Quinn is the suspension he incurred which cost him his entire 2010 season. Quinn accepted gifts from an agent and then lied to NCAA investigators about the ordeal.
"Quinn was ruled permanently ineligible for accepting two black diamond watches, a pair of matching earrings and travel accommodations for a trip to Miami, among other benefits that totaled an approximate value of $5,642," explains Barnes. "There may be some minor penalties going forward for UNC, but the bulk of the damage was done in 2010. The loss of Quinn along with Marvin Austin, Greg Little and various other Tar Heels for varying lengths of time was detrimental for a team that was primed for a ACC championship run."
At the beginning of the season, UNC held him out of games but he was allowed some participation in the program. Barnes explains what Quinn did on his downtime:
"He worked out with the team and practiced on the scout team until his ruling came down in mid-October. After that, Quinn moved on and found a trainer to help him prepare for the NFL combine."
Unfortunately for Quinn, his suspension cost him a lot in his plans and the eyes of Tar Heel fans.
"Wasted potential may be a little strong, but Quinn made it known last summer that his goal was to contend for the Heisman Trophy and post upwards of two dozen sacks," continues Barnes. "As ridiculous as that may seem, nobody doubted him. This is a kid that the coaching staff had to tell to shut it down during last April's spring game because he was disrupting the entire game from his defensive end spot."
Around campus, Quinn was far less disruptive than he was on the field.
"Quinn is a soft-spoken young man that comes from a good family, and his reputation reflects that," says Barnes. "I've never heard a bad word about Quinn and most people were shocked to learn that he made the mistake of accepting gifts."
The other red flag on Quinn's resume is a medical one that was found before he chose a school.
"One of the reasons Quinn didn't make a big splash in the recruiting headlines coming out of high school is because doctors discovered a brain tumor when he was a senior and told him that he would never play sports again," explains Barnes. "Most schools shied away, but Butch Davis and Nick Saban stayed with him through the process and Quinn ultimately decided on North Carolina."
Barnes still believes Quinn will be successful in the pros and compares him to a fellow UNC alum who has had great success at the top level of pro football.
"Quinn will be an dynamite rush end. He could even play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, if needed. In talking with people around the UNC program that also watched Julius Peppers come through a decade ago, the thought is that Quinn is pretty close in talent to Peppers. Add in the fact that Quinn goes all-out on every rep and every play - something Peppers has been notorious for not doing, dating back to his college days - and the potential is there for Quinn to be a Pro Bowl player down the road."
Many thanks to Greg Barnes and Inside Carolina for discussing UNC DE Robert Quinn with us here today.