PEMBROKE — Tyler Maynor and Chuck Oxendine were able to sleep easy on the eve of National Signing Day this week.
The shockwave caused by Pete Shinnick’s abrupt resignation from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s football program days before the offseason’s most important event didn’t reach Purnell Swett as the duo was reassured by the Braves’ coaching staff that scholarships would be honored and they remained welcomed additions.
Maynor, a 5-foot-10 wide receiver, and Oxendine, an all-conference linebacker, made it official Wednesday by sending in binding letters of intent on the first day of the spring football signing period.
“We both knew where we wanted to be and Pembroke felt like home,” Maynor said.
Added Oxendine: “The coaching situation didn’t really matter to me. UNCP is a family organization with a great support system for athletes and they really conveyed that during my visit.”
Oxendine’s the third Swett linebacker under Mark Heil to sign with the Braves since 2008, joining Justin Bullard and current rising sophomore Isaac Jacobs. Maynor ended his prep career with three consecutive 100-yard, multi-touchdown games and is the first Ram wideout to choose UNCP.
“These guys were two-year captains in our program and players I really feel can make an impact at the next level,” Heil said.
Maynor says he’ll have a chance to fill the hole left by Ben Decelle in the slot within Jamie Deese’s up-tempo spread offense.
Oxendine, who received early interest from Wake Forest, says his trust with the UNCP staff — notably interim coach and defensive coordinator Shane Richardson — never wavered throughout the process and the outgoing depth at linebacker ultimately led to his decision.
Oxendine made a team-high 120 tackles at Swett this season.
“I’ll be playing Fred’s (Williams) spot in the middle,” Oxendine said. “I think I can play early, but there’s some other good linebackers coming in with me this class too. I’m ready to work hard and get after it.”
Maynor’s been close to the program since its infancy in 2005 and when the offer came, he says it was easy to finalize his decision. One of the area’s top wideouts garnered heavy interest from Division III programs Guilford College and Methodist while Elon University approached early on before dropping him off its board.
“You want to pick a place where you’ll be a good fit for the next four years and not a place you’ll regret,” Maynor said. “I feel comfortable at UNCP.”
Maynor and Oxendine were Robeson County’s only signees on Wednesday. Three players on offense from Fairmont — quarterback Jarrod Neal, receiver Da’Shawn Fields and tailback Quenton Walker — are expected to announce their college decisions today.
Red Springs quarterback Blake Greene has until April 1 to decide and says he’s weighing several Division II and NAIA options.
Reach Brad Crawford at 910-272-6111 or on Twitter @MrPalmettoSDS.