Despite the distance from the mid-Atlantic, Sterling Johnson and his parents made it a point to get to Tuscaloosa over the weekend for junior day, and it was seemingly worth it.
Alabama made quite the impression on the 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive tackle.
It began on Friday for the family of the Clayton (N.C.) Cleveland High School standout.
"We went to get pizza and talked to Coach [Kevin] Steele," Johnson said. "He's my recruiter and he's saying how it's about the people and not the facilitates and to find the right fit for me."
The four-star added that Friday revealed how Alabama is "really impressive and organized!" when it comes to football. The college-town feel made a good first impression as well.
"It's great, I love it here!" he said. "Great people and good facilities, the whole city is great.
"The stores and culture of it impress me. Everyone is about the Tide and really in love with the team."
Nick Saban sat down with Johnson on Saturday and relayed his message to one of his newest targets.
"That they like me a lot and he won't pressure me to commit," he said of the meeting. "And about making me a better person.
"It means a lot, he's a Hall-of-Famer, easily."
The pair of days helped out the Crimson Tide's pursuit for one of the Tar Heel State's best.
"It increased!" he said. "Top five, if I had one today. I'm definitely coming back."
Johnson's parents, also making their initial trip to the area, felt similarly, he says.
"My mom and dad did liked it a lot!" he said. "They liked everything and yes they're okay with me going this far for school."
Scout.com currently pegs Johnson as the No. 19 defensive tackle in the class of 2015. He has no current timetable for a decision.
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