UNC in Top Five for Bama Pledge

ATLANTA --- Despite being verbally committed to one of the premier programs in college football, Mekhi Brown is approaching the recruiting process as if he's a free agent.

"I'm committed 100-percent [to Alabama], but I'm just being cautious in case something happens," the 6-foot-5, 221-pound defensive end from Columbus (Ga.) Carver said. "I'm just trying to have a back up if something does happen."

Among other things, Brown's approach includes him establishing a top five schools list. Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, and Stanford comprise the latest edition of said list.

"Those are showing me the most attention, I feel like," Brown said.

Specifically with UNC, Brown says he's in regular contact with Chris Kapilovic, who recruits that area of Georgia for the Tar Heels.

"North Carolina sends a lot of mail," Brown said. "I talk to Coach Kap a lot – and Coach [Larry] Fedora]. So they definitely show me a lot of attention.

"Basically, they say I'll start when I get there. The coaches love me. I'm probably going to take an official [visit] there."

Early playing time is something Brown is accustomed to. He started early in his prep career for Carver and was a part of a stellar starting defensive line for the West during Georgia's Rising Seniors Bowl. Brown played strong-side end, while Trenton Thompson and Johnathan Ledbetter manned the defensive tackle positions and D'Andre Walker started at weak-side.

In addition to a possible official visit, Brown will be among a group of Carver players that makes their usual trek to Chapel Hill for June's Fedora's Freak Show. He also hopes to visit UNC unofficially with his parents during the spring semester.

"I want to get a feel for how it is during the school year," Brown said.

Additionally, Brown wants to visit Southern Cal and Stanford "really, really bad," and is also eyeing a trip to Florida State.

Alabama's coaching staff hasn't attempted to dissuade Brown from visiting other schools.

"They're encouraging it," Brown said. "They want me to have something to fall back on if something happens."

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