Reaction from UNC Commitments, Part I

Following the announcement of the hiring of Larry Fedora as UNC's new head coach, talked with Tar Heel commitments Joseph Jackson, Shakeel Rashad, Jessie Rogers, Jon Heck and Desmond Owino to get their reactions.


"Actually, I was ecstatic," Jackson said. "Coach Fedora is my homeboy. Him and my defensive coordinator are very close. If anything, it probably made the situation better for me. Not to say anything against Coach [Everett] Withers, because I love Coach Withers and I went down and had a great time with him – he's a nice guy.

"It doesn't at all affect my decision about North Carolina. If anything it excited me even more with Coach Fedora and the possibility of defensive coordinator Coach [Dan] Disch coming in. While I'm upset that Coach Withers didn't get the job, it wasn't necessarily all bad news.

"I spoke to Coach [Troy] Douglas earlier this week. He was kind of giving me the inside scoop with what was going to probably happen. I told him it wasn't going to be a problem, because when I committed, I committed to North Carolina – no matter who the coach was.

"Most definitely [I've been recruiting Reggie Northrup for UNC]. I don't want to leak any details, but I'll say we have a good shot at him. Things happen for mysterious reasons and something good could come out of this situation with Reggie. He could become a Tar Heel, but I just want what's best for Reggie."


"I'm excited," Rashad said. "I'm sad to see Coach Withers not get the job, but I've heard nothing but good things about Coach Fedora – and that includes Coach [Art] Kaufman, who I spoke to today. He said he used to work with him.

"It's not going to affect me. I'm going to be there. I'm enrolling Jan. 6. I'm ready to go.

"I haven't talked to [Fedora] yet, but I've talked to people about him and it's always been great. I just talked to Jon Heck and he said he's heard great things about him.

"I know that he's done some pretty big things at Southern Miss. They were 11-2 and knocked off Houston in the conference championship. I watched that game – it was great. I watched the game because I'm a football fan. I knew at the time [Fedora was a candidate at UNC], but I didn't put two and two together."


"I talked about it with my mom and my dad," Rogers said. "It doesn't really affect me too much – it affects more of the players that are already up there. To me, it's just I haven't been coached by any of the people yet, so everything is going to be good for me regardless.

"I've been hearing a lot of things from different people like ‘You're going to have a new coach so it's going to be different.' But I'm fine with that. I just tell people I'd rather have a new coach now then when I'm there.

"I haven't had a chance to read up on [Fedora's] bio, but people I know that play college football said that he's a really good coach and he's going to help out the North Carolina program. So it's nothing but good news for me.

"It doesn't really affect [my commitment to UNC]. A lot of people think that I'm going to de-commit, because of the change. But I committed to North Carolina not just because of the coaches but because the school and academic system.

"[Thursday], actually, I spoke to Coach Kaufman. He was keeping me assured to make sure everything was good. He told me he's had the chance to coach with [Fedora] before and even if [Kaufman] is not there, I'm going to have a good opportunity and be coached by a good coach in Coach Fedora."


"I've never met Coach Fedora," Heck said. "But I've heard nothing but good things about him. I had a teammate who graduated last year and is playing at Southern Miss right now and he has had nothing but good things to say. And my dad is familiar with him. So everything I've heard of Coach Fedora is great.

"I'm disappointed to see Coach [Everett] Withers go. I have a lot of respect for Coach Withers. But I'm definitely excited to play for Coach Fedora.

"I knew that this was a potential possibility from the moment when I committed. I knew there was a possibility that Coach [Butch] Davis could get fired. And when Coach Withers took over, I knew there was a good chance that they'd hire a new guy. So this isn't a shock to me. So I'm definitely still committed.

"I talked to Coach [Sam] Pittman on Tuesday. That was when they just caught wind that Coach Fedora would be the head guy. But I haven't spoken to anyone since then. [Pittman] said it looks like they found the guy: Coach Fedora from Southern Miss – they upset Houston the other week. At the time, he didn't really know if it was official yet."


"I knew most likely [a new coach being hired] was going to happen," Owino said. "So it wasn't a big factor to me. It's not going to affect my commitment.

"I don't know much about [Fedora].

"I found out [about the hire] through the media.

"I spoke to Coach [Joe] Robinson on Monday. He didn't talk about [UNC hiring another coach]. He was asking me a ton of questions – what would I like to do in college."

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