Building Momentum

Larry Fedora's first Junior Day event as North Carolina's head coach produced three verbal commitments, generated statewide buzz and built momentum for the 2013 recruiting class.

More than two dozen of UNC's top in-state targets – most of which have already been verbally offered – made the trek to Chapel Hill last Wednesday.

"It was a great day to go over to a great campus and see a great game and get to meet some great coaches," said Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield quarterback Connor Mitch.

"It was a one of a kind experience," LaChaston Smith, a linebacker from Statesville (N.C.) South Iredell, said. "I can truly say that, because not many schools have brought that kind of visit. It was a very warm, welcome visit."

Two recruits from Durham (N.C.) Hillside committed during the event – running back Khris Francis and safety Korrin Wiggins – and Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield wide receiver Jordan Fieulleteau followed suit days later. Meanwhile, UNC improved its chances with a number of major in-state targets.

"I'm leaning towards Carolina a little bit," Bunn (N.C.) wide receiver Jonathan Alston said. "… [The visit] made me more comfortable."

"It kind of helped me," said Rockingham (N.C.) Richmond lineman Tyrone Crowder. "I wouldn't say I have a top school, but UNC moved up in my mind."

"[The visit] would probably put [UNC] in a tie [with previously leading NC State] considering the whole experience," Brian Walker, a cornerback from Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek, said.

"It just felt like home," Indian Trail (N.C.) Porter Ridge kicker Matt Wogan said. "... Honestly, I don't have a top school yet, but they've got to be close to it. The trip and everything, it was awesome. It was probably one of my best experiences."

Upon their arrival early Wednesday evening, visitors spent time in the UNC's players' lounge shooting pool, playing video games, and mingling with each other and UNC's coaching staff.

"Other than the game, just talking to the new coaches and getting a good feel for them [was the highlight of the visit]," Crowder said. "I got to talk to the other recruits that were there – I talked to them a lot."

"If I had to pick out one [moment of the visit], it was when I was playing pool with my dad, and Coach Fedora just walked up out of nowhere," Wogan said. "I was like, ‘Holy Crap, Coach Fedora is really here.' That was awesome. He already knew who I was. It was awesome – there aren't even words to describe it. It was just a great feeling."

After a meal, the visitors watched a highlight reel and were then were addressed by Fedora.

"Coach Fedora walked into the room and said, ‘This is the best of the best in the state of North Carolina for 2013," said Tarboro (N.C.) defensive end Tyquan Lewis. "He said, ‘If we just keep all you guys in this room in North Carolina, we can win championships.'"

"We watched a little highlight video with some of the players – that was real exciting – with Coach Fedora. So that would probably be a key thing too."

The visit was capped off by the UNC-Duke basketball game, which ended with a three-pointer at the buzzer.

"The whole visit was great, especially Coach Fedora's speech, but the Duke and Carolina game made it a whole lot better," Smith said. "Even though they took a loss – even though I thought they should have won and I'm a Carolina basketball fan – it was just a great environment to be around, especially to watch a game like that. Not many people in their lifetime get to say they watched a Duke and Carolina game."

"The game was crazy," Wilson (N.C.) Hunt defensive end Lewis Neal said. "It was a really good feeling when we got on the court. We were just having a good time. When the crowd started chanting ‘Carolina Football,' it was crazy."

The Tar Heels' coaching staff is aiming to extend the growing buzz outside the state's borders this Saturday with a second Junior Day that will also feature out-of-state prospects.

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