Johnson Takes First UNC Visit

D'Ernest Johnson committed to North Carolina in May, but made his first visit to Chapel Hill late last week.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound running back from Immokalee (Fla.) had expressed a desire to continue to explore his options after making that commitment three months ago. North Carolina hoped that Johnson's Chapel Hill visit would provide some finality to his recruitment.

However, Johnson's situation remains status quo.

"I'm still kind of open," Johnson said. "I'm still open – I'm still keeping my options open. But I'm still committed, though."

That doesn't mean that Johnson's visit, which began Friday and ended Saturday, didn't go well.

"It was a great visit," Johnson said. "Everything went great. I really have stronger feelings about North Carolina. It's a good school, great campus, great facilities – one of the best facilities I've seen so far."

Johnson's UNC stay included a full campus tour and meetings with several members of the Tar Heels' coaching staff, including Blake Anderson, Dan Disch, Larry Fedora, and Randy Jordan.

Johnson spent the most time with Disch, his primary recruiter. Disch was Johnson's tour guide around campus and shadowed him for much of his stay.

"He told me that this would be a great place for me," Johnson said. "He said that I'd fit well in this offense and they want me really bad."

As far as meetings go, Johnson spent the most time with Fedora.

"He basically said the same thing [as Disch] – telling me how important I am to the school and to this offense and this team," Johnson said. "He told me that I would graduate with a great degree."

With Jordan, Johnson got a better understanding of UNC's one-back, no-huddle spread offense. Jordan explained the offense on the white board and showed film as an example.

"We watched film on how the offense is ran," Johnson said. "… It's basically the same thing that we run in high school. I just want the ball in my hand and this offense will do that."

While Johnson's coach, Richard Dombroski, attended a function with UNC coaches, Johnson and a couple of his Immokalee teammates, including USF pledge Jimmy Bayes, spent Friday night with current Tar Heels T.J. Jiles and Malik Simmons. Both Jiles and Simmons played prep ball in the same region as Johnson.

"They showed me a good time," Johnson said. "We talked a little about college football, but we talked about how we played against each other in the past.

Before heading to UNC on Friday, Johnson spent the morning at NC State. After departing from Chapel Hill, Johnson and his teammates stopped by Clemson. Johnson has also visited Louisville since committing to UNC.

"I'm trying to find the place that I feel most comfortable," Johnson said. "I want a place where I feel at home."

Johnson is unsure when he'll be able to either solidify his UNC commitment or de-commit and go in another direction. It could occur during the football season or he could wait until Signing Day.

In the meantime, Johnson said he plans to take official visits to Louisville and UNC, and possibly Georgia.

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