McGirt Returning to Chapel Hill

DURHAM, N.C. --- Before Hillside’s 2014 season kicked off on Friday night, Emanuel McGirt had a phone conversation with North Carolina assistant coaches Chris Kapilovic and Larry Porter.

“They told me to come over [on Saturday],” McGirt said. “I think they have practice. I might go over to their practice and then I’ll be at NC State on Sunday.

“Both schools are school close it’s easy to get over there.”

McGirt’s communication with UNC has remained constant – even after the 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive tackle de-committed earlier this month. In fact, he was surprised by how Kapilovic and Porter reacted when he backed out of his month and a half long commitment.

“It was actually pretty positive,” McGirt said. “They weren’t fussing or arguing. They just said, ‘Obviously we’re broken hearted, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.’

“I feel like I rushed it. I’m not saying I’m not considering North Carolina. I just wanted to think about it and take my time.”

Since he plans to graduate early, McGirt is aiming to finalize his collegiate destination in October.

Between now and then, McGirt will officially visit Georgia, LSU, UNC, and NC State. He already has his UGa official trip scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 30 when the Bulldogs host Clemson.

Heading into those trips, Georgia and NC State are tied for McGirt’s lead.

“I’ve been down to Georgia and the coaches are family oriented and they’re really nice. With State, I’ve been over there a lot and I’m getting that homey feeling.”

McGirt says that UNC is right on Georgia’s and NC State’s tail.

“I was always a little shaky,” McGirt said. “I still like Carolina – I still love Carolina. They’re not counted out at all. At one point, I didn’t have an offer from them. And back then I really, really wanted to go [to UNC].

“But they’re still in it definitely. I say it’s 33.5-percent NC State and Georgia, and 33-percent Carolina.”

Further complicating his decision: McGirt is torn on what he plans to study in college.

“I work at a pet hospital and like that, but I kind of want to do business,” McGirt said. “UNC has a great business school. And Georgia has a good veterinarian school and so does NC State... It’s more than just football.”

Though it doesn’t matter to him much, McGirt believes NC State offers a better opportunity at early playing time.

“That doesn’t matter to me, because you play when you’re ready,” McGirt said. “I think at any school, if you do what you’ve got to do you’re going to play.”

To say that McGirt has family ties to UNC would be an understatement. Both of his parents and his older sister graduated from UNC. Thus, his de-commitment resulted in some backlash.

“Especially my older sister, who just graduated,” McGirt said with a laugh. “She has a program over there.

“My mom is definitely Carolina.”

McGirt’s father is more open-minded, according to McGirt.

McGirt said that initially input from family members weighed heavily in his decision – and helped lead to his UNC pledge.

“This time, I’m trying to be open-minded and go with me and not what everybody else wants,” McGirt said.

A reticent influence on McGirt’s collegiate decision could end up being fellow four-star prospect Nyheim Hines. The two met on the camp circuit and their friendship blossomed each time their path’s crossed. The friendship eventually led to the two discussing a possible package deal.

“He actually initiated it and said he wanted me to play with him,” McGirt said.

As a result, McGirt and Hines have share opinions on schools. McGirt says he and Hines share four favorite schools in common – Florida, Georgia, UNC, and NC State.

As far as committed recruits, McGirt says he hears the most from Georgia and UNC pledges. Anthony Ratliff and Mason Veal are the most vocal from the Tar Heels’ corner, while Bulldog commitment Patrick Allen calls him “all the time.”

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