Henson Flips to UNC

Virginia pledge Brad Henson made an under-the-radar official visit to North Carolina over the weekend. The trip resulted in the 6-foot-5, 295-pound offensive lineman switching his verbal commitment from UVa to UNC on Sunday.

"I just decided to take a visit here and it just felt like a better fit when I got around the coaches and the players," Henson said. "And for me personally, it didn't really have anything to do with the coaches at Virginia or the players. [UNC] was just a better fit for me. In my heart, I just felt like it was a better fit."

Back in late June, Henson, a Toms River (N.J.) Monsignor Donovan product, verbally committed to Virginia over offers from Georgia, Miami, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, UNC and Wisconsin.

Following a disappointing 4-8 season, UVa's staff shakeup included the dismissal of four coaches.

"[The coaching changes] didn't help, but I don't really want to get into that," Henson said. "It's really more what's better for me. Those are things I really can't control and I didn't really have a say in. I just wanted to take a look at North Carolina and I really felt like it was a better fit. I really have a whole lot of respect for Coach [Mike] London and his staff."

Specifically, Henson credits the time he spent with Chris Kapilovic, UNC's offense line coach, for his switch.

"I have a great relationship with him, I feel like," Henson said. "I feel like he's a great coach.

"Also, just meeting with the players and getting on campus and meeting Coach [Larry] Fedora – just everything about it just really sold me. It was just the overall fit – it wasn't anything in particular."

Henson had two player hosts for the weekend, both offensive linemen – Jarrod James and Jon Heck.

"They are both great guys," Henson said. "I can really just see myself being with those guys and hitting it off and fitting in. They really just did a great job in helping me figure out my decision.

"Jon said, ‘Just trust me, you won't regret coming here. It's just a great group of guys that's really like a family.' And he said ‘You'll really fit in here. I get along with you. I really hope you come here.' He just told me how every day was."

Henson's stay included watching film with Kapilovic.

"He said they were thin, as far as interior linemen go," Henson said. "He said I'll have an opportunity to compete for a chance to play early… He said it's a fact that they're thin there because they're losing some guys, like Jonathan Cooper. He just introduced me to what they do along the offensive line – just kind of scratched the surface."

UNC's goal was to add a "swing" O-lineman to this class, who would be capable of playing both tackle and guard.

"I can play guard, tackle, or center," Henson said. "[Kapilovic] said that's just a valuable thing with me, because I'm versatile."

Henson closed out the visit with a meeting with Fedora.

"He told me he would love to have me and it's all about where I'm happiest," Henson said. "He didn't talk a lot about football stuff. He said it's all about being happy."

Originally, Henson had planned to return home, think about his options, and then make a final decision.

"I made [the decision] with Coach Fedora in his office," Henson said. "He was happy. He jumped up and gave me a hug. My parents were excited. It was a great feeling.

"I wanted to do it there, because I knew ultimately it was the decision I was going to make. I didn't really need to think about it anymore. I wanted to do it there with the coaches there in-person."

Henson said he's finished taking visits, including those of the "secret" variety.

"I'm done 100-percent," he said.

Henson was named First-Team All-State in 2012 and is ranked the No. 16 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com.

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