"Hearing that is great," said Shakeel Rashad, a linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) Episcopal, who became the first commitment in UNC's 2012 class when he made his decision in February. "I met Coach Withers for the first time on my first visit up there. But, I really got to know him my last time up there. I spent as much time as I could trying to learn as much as I could and I think he's going to really bring a defensive-minded feel to the team. I think it's a good thing – obviously, I'm biased, because I'm a defensive player."
Phillip Williamson, a linebacker recruit from Durham (N.C.) Jordan who committed in May, said, "It brought a smile to my face, because he was one of the people who was recruiting me. It's great that he's from North Carolina and that he's a defensive guy."
Fort Myers (Fla.) South cornerback Nate Dortch worked with Withers during UNC's camp (pictured at right), where he earned a scholarship offer and almost immediately accepted.
"It's good," Dortch said of the news. "I just hope nothing unless goes wrong this year. It means a lot that he's a defensive coach and someone that knows what I'm capable of."
Withers is a Charlotte native and since 2009 has included that region among his recruiting territories. Among his 2012 targets from the area was Charlotte (N.C.) Berry Academy wideout Kedrick Davis, who committed to UNC in mid-June.
"Wow," Davis said upon learning the news. "I'm happy for him. I'm excited, because he was the guy that was recruiting me through the whole process. It's a big relief – they're not going to bring in anybody new and they are bringing in somebody the players know. I talked to him last night, as a matter of a fact. … He just said if I have any questions, feel free to call. I told him I'm going there either way it goes."
According to offensive lineman Jon Heck from Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles, Withers was one of three candidates interviewed for the position on Thursday afternoon.
"I know they were considering him, Coach [John] Shoop, and Coach [Sam] Pittman for the job," Heck said. "[Pittman] explained to me the situation that he and the two other coaches had interviewed for the head coaching job and they should be naming one either tonight or tomorrow morning.
"Obviously, I'm very close with Coach Pittman, but I really like all the coaches and have a lot of respect for all of them. But, I'm excited about that decision. I would have been happy with either one of those guys."