Colo. Lineman Makes Stop at UNC

Alex Kozan included North Carolina within his lengthy "southern swing" of school trips with a visit last Saturday.

"Overall, [the visit] gave me a picture in my head," Kozan said. "When I think North Carolina now, I can see Chapel Hill and see their stadium. When you live so far away in Colorado and you get offered by North Carolina, it's pretty much just a logo in your head. You really don't know the program until you see the facilities and meet the people.

"I already liked North Carolina to begin with. I like it a lot more now that I've visited. I already knew it was a good academic institution, but now I know it's a really cool place."

After visiting friends in Tulsa, Kozan, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive lineman from Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian, went on to visit Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, UNC, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, and finishing up at Vanderbilt on Tuesday. At last check, Kozan and his family have logged 3,400 miles on the road trip.

"I'm really blessed to have a family that allows me to take these visits," Kozan said. "It's been a fun road trip.

"We saw some great schools. Really, they're all great schools and if I decided to go to any of those schools, I'm going to be fine."

Previously, Kozan has visited Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Colorado State, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Stanford, and Wisconsin.

"I'm pretty much done with the only one I have left being Oregon," Kozan said.

Kozan's nation-wide tour will assist him in trimming his list of schools under consideration to seven finalists, which he'll announce during the first week of August.

"That way, I can cut some of these schools off so they can recruit other guys," Kozan said. "That way I'm not wasting their time and getting it to a list of seven that I can really focus on. Also, on Sept. 1 when schools can start calling me again, I don't want that to be too crazy and get 40 calls." From there, Kozan will begin taking official visits.

"Some of the schools [I've visited], I didn't get to meet the head coach, because he was out-of-the-office that day," Kozan said. "Some of them I might go back to get a better feel for them.

"I'll probably take two-three officials – maybe five if I don't know and I'm not having a good feel for it."

After concluding his official visit schedule, Kozan expects to make a verbal commitment sometime in October.

Kozan says the only definite lock to make the cut to seven is Iowa.

"Iowa, I think, is a really good fit for me," Kozan said. "When you look at everything that Iowa has – the coaching staff, they produce O-linemen, Tippie College of Business is in the top 25 of business schools."

It's not often that UNC ventures into Colorado for a recruit – even just to extend a scholarship offer.

"I sent them my film earlier, because I was kind of interested in [UNC]," Kozan said. "I thought it would be a good initial fit. I do a lot of research on colleges [and] I don't send my film to just anyone.

"I already know what I want to major in, which is business, and I know North Carolina has one of the best business schools in the country – it's in the top five. Kenan-Flagler, if you have a degree from there, you're pretty much set up. That and football-wise they've been on the cusp here for a couple seasons. Butch Davis is a national championship coach. And last year they had the huge recruiting class of O-linemen, and I really think they're going to start producing some great O-linemen. And they produce great D-linemen, so I figured ‘What's going to make me better as a player than going up against great D-linemen every single day in practice?'"

After receiving his film, UNC reached out to Kozan during the Spring Evaluation Period.

"I got connected with Coach [Sam] Pittman [and] talked to him," Kozan said. "After we talked over the weeks, he eventually offered me."

Kozan and his family arrived at UNC on Saturday morning and left that afternoon.

"It was a good visit," Kozan said. "We saw everything. We saw the campus, obviously, it was the second of July, so most of the coaches were gone."

The one coach that was on campus was Pittman.

"He was the one that took me around," Kozan said. "We saw everything. We saw all the buildings... We learned more about the history of the University of North Carolina – how it's the first public university in the United States. I drank from the Old Well – that was cool."

Pittman gave Kozan and his family a full campus tour, including in-depth looks at the dorms, weight room, and Kenan Stadium.

"Size wise, it's smaller than some of the schools I've visited," Kozan said. "LSU is a huge school. Ohio State, that school is gigantic. [UNC] is a little on the small side… But it was really cool just seeing all the architecture there, because the buildings are so old."

Kozan was also introduced to several current UNC offensive linemen.

"I got to talk to them, ask them about the program, ask them what Coach Pittman was like, [and] ask them what Coach Davis is like," Kozan said. "I thought that was important, because not every program does that and they're going to be the people I'm going to be around every day."

Before hitting the road again, Kozan sat down with Pittman in his office.

"We watched their training tape watching what drills their offensive linemen do and then talking about where I fit in at North Carolina," Kozan said. "He said he sees me as a guard. But he also wants me to learn center, because he wants all of his players to be the best they can be. He thinks I could eventually play in the NFL and all the guards in the NFL have to learn center."

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