One-on-One with Justin Meredith

Justin Meredith didn't see the need to wait any longer. He knew where he wanted to go, so he made the call to UNC this week and ended his recruitment. The talented tight end talked in-depth with Inside Carolina about his decision.

Why did you commit to UNC?

"I just love the coaches up there. I felt North Carolina gave me the best balance between big time football and getting a good education."

What was the process you went through to come up with your final decision?

"I narrowed it down about a month ago. My family and I sat down and narrowed it down to about a top four or top five. Those were the schools that we started focusing on. And then we went and visited those schools again – we went up to North Carolina about three weeks ago [and] we went up to Auburn last weekend.

"I kind of knew that North Carolina was my No. 1 and Auburn was No. 2. When I went to Auburn last weekend, I had a great time, but after that I just knew that I wanted to go to North Carolina."

"I kind of knew that North Carolina was my No. 1 and Auburn was No. 2."
Who were your top four or five?

"The schools I was picking between were North Carolina, Auburn, Tennessee, V-Tech, and LSU."

When do you feel like North Carolina emerged as your No. 1?

"I'd say some time during spring practice during a conversation with Coach Mo' [Allen Mogridge] – Coach Mo' is my recruiter. We had a good long conversation and it just went from there. He kept talking to me about how they use their tight ends and how many catches the tight ends had last year. And he was like, ‘You need to come up to the campus, because you'll love the campus.' I said, ‘Alright, I'll get up there.'

"About three weeks ago, my dad and I went up there and we loved it. We loved everything about it."

How much of a role did that visit play in your decision to commit?

"It was a huge factor in the decision. The biggest thing was being able to spend three, four hours with Coach Mo'. We were able to sit down and have lunch, and just interact with each other.

"I see a lot of things in me in him. We kind of have the same background. We just clicked. I was just like, ‘I would love to be coached by this man.'"

Besides the visit three weeks ago, how many times have you visited UNC?

"I've been up there one other time. The first time I was up there, they were playing NC State during the season. I had a great time, but it was a 12 o'clock game. So we got there at 10 [o'clock] and then the coaches talked to us for about 20 minutes because they had to go deal with the game, which is completely understandable. So we really didn't get to see too much of the university – we just got to watch the game and then we left.

"Coach Mo' kept telling me [afterwards] ‘You need to come up here and let me give you a tour.'"

Growing up a Clemson fan, heading into the spring, did you ever envision committing to UNC?

"Honestly, I thought that North Carolina would be in my top five, if I was to come out with a top five. I didn't really think that they would be my No. 1. Honestly, I was real heavy on Duke and also I was real heavy on Auburn. But that trip [to UNC], I just had a great time."

"I was just like, ‘I would love to be coached by this man.'"
When did you actually decide you were going to commit?

"It was [Tuesday] night, my mom and dad and I were sitting down eating dinner and we were talking about it. My dad was joking around and said, ‘When are you going to commit?' I said, ‘I'd like to do it soon.' He asked, ‘Do you know who you're going to commit to?' I said, ‘Yeah, I think I do – North Carolina.' He said, ‘That's the school I thought you were going to go to.' We talked about it for a while and he said, ‘Why don't you just go ahead and do it?' So I picked up the phone and called Coach Mo' and committed."

What was Coach Mogridge's reaction?

"He was ecstatic. He was super excited."

What went into the timing of the decision?

"It was a little bit of both knowing where I wanted to be and being tired of the [recruiting] process. I knew that the Auburn trip was going to be one of my last trips, but at the same time I knew where I wanted to go. No doubt I wanted to go to North Carolina. So I was like, ‘Why wait?' Because I didn't want to make these coaches wait. A lot of these coaches were saying ‘Hey, you're our No. 1 guy and we're going to wait on you.' I didn't want to put these coaches in bad situations. I knew I didn't want to play the waiting game with them, so I went ahead and did it."

Do you plan on visiting other schools?

"The only thing that's going on with me is my high school planned a trip months ago. What we're doing is we're going to Tennessee [and] touring their facilities, we're going to [Vanderbilt], we're going to Louisville, and then we have a seven-on-seven tournament at Notre Dame. I was going to use that as a recruiting trip, but I'm now not going to use it as a recruiting trip. I'm going to go just to be with my teammates, because this was planned months ago.

"Besides that, I won't be taking any other visits unless it's to North Carolina. And the only official visit I'll take is to North Carolina."

"He went and got me and he went and got another very good tight end, which is great."
Within UNC's offensive scheme, which uses two types of tight ends, where does the coaching staff seeing you fitting into?

"Right now, I'm kind of just a big receiver almost. But Coach Mo' fully expects me to grow into a 6-5, 255-260-pound tight end that can put his hand on the ground and block defensive ends and at the same time stretch the field."

Less than 24 hours after you committed, UNC received a verbal commitment from another tight end prospect, Terrance Knox. Knox admitted that your decision influenced him to commit also. What are your thoughts on that?

"[Knox] just messaged me on Facebook. It feels great to help out. Terrance and I actually – and I don't know if he realizes this – we know each other. We were at one of those National Underclassman Combines together and we practiced with each other.

"Coach Mo' was up front with me. He told me he was going to take two tight ends. He went and got me and he went and got another very good tight end, which is great.

"Like you were saying, it feels great to get the dice rolling. I hope more come on. I'd like to help out as much as I could with North Carolina's recruiting."

Do you have any plans for which recruits you'll contact?

"I plan on investigating that. One guy off the top of my head is Keith Marshall; he's a five-star running back that I'm hearing is considering North Carolina."

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