Becoming a 5-tool Tar Heel was always in Vance Honeycutt's blood ::

Becoming a 5-tool Tar Heel was always in Vance Honeycutt’s blood ::

“I tried to make it fun first,” Bobby Honeycutt explained. “I wanted to introduce him to all of the sports.”

It’s a simple strategy and it’s yielded one of the greatest UNC hitters of all time.

“It’s been surreal really,” Honeycutt said.

Bobby is the father of Vance Honeycutt and a former UNC infielder himself in the late 80s. His team made the College World Series in 1989.

“I told [Vance] we were 0-2 and BBQ,” Bobby laughed. “I still have the ring to show him, we are hoping that these guys finish strong this year.”

Led by Vance’s career year, UNC is already the regular season ACC champ and poised to host a NCAA regional. Vance entered the ranks of UNC’s all-time greats by breaking the school’s career home record (previously held by Devy Bell) with his 58th home run vs. Louisville in May.

“I’ve always wanted to come here and play, it was my dream to be a Tar Heel,” Vance said. “Being able to accomplish some things along the way was really special.”

You could say becoming a 5-tool Tar Heel was always in Vance’s blood. Not only did his father play baseball at Carolina, his mother Leah Ann ran track.

“I think he got a combination of both of us,” Leah Ann said. “I was more of a middle distance runner, Bobby was a really fast sprinter.”

Vance’s speed in addition to his power is what has made him such a highly touted prospect. He was a smaller kid growing up, but hit a growth spurt in high school. His mom says having to outwork the bigger kids still gives him an edge today.

“We just wanted Vance to be surrounded by great people and great coaches,” Leah Ann said. “We feel like that has been the case from the get go at Carolina. He’s been blessed with great teammates, great people.  He’s always grown up as a child sitting in the dugout watching his dad come back for Old Leaguers, getting to hit in the batting cages as a small kid and for him to be able to experience Chapel Hill and be a part of that program has really been a dream come true for him.”

Coming out of Salisbury High School Vance was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 20th round, this July he could hear his name called among the top 20 picks.

“We focus on what’s tomorrow as a family, we made that decision all the way through.” Leah Ann said. “We want him to just say ‘what do I need to do tomorrow and how can I help my team’ and we believe that all the good things that God has in store for him will happen if he does that.”

“That stuff is there, I don’t want to deny it,” Vance said. “That’s the spot you want to be in, but also still understanding you have so much more ahead of you.”

Vance wants to help take UNC back to Omaha for the first time since 2018, just like his dad.

“This team has a ton of talent, a ton of depth,” Vance said. “I feel like the locker room is really close and this is definitely the squad to do it.”