UNC Among Hart's Favorites

After helping Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Aquinas land a berth in the FHSAA 7A State Championship game with a victory in the semifinals Friday night, Chris Hart and his parents officially visited North Carolina.

“It went very well,” Hart said. “They seem like they really want me out there. And it seems like it could be a great fit for me.”

The official was Hart’s fourth. The 6-foot-2, 234-pounder has already taken trips to Iowa, Michigan State, and Utah.

It also was Hart’s first visit to UNC. The experience immediately pushes the Tar Heels into his lead group, along with Iowa and Utah.

“[My three favorite schools] show a lot of loyalty and that they really need me up there,” Hart said. “At each one, I can come up there and play early.”

UNC expects Hart to play early at the bandit position, where starter Norkeithus Otis will graduate following the season, within its 4-2-5 defensive scheme. Hart stars in a similar role in a similar system at Aquinas.

“I think I can play that position, unless I get too heavy in college and I’ll have to play defensive end then I can do that as well,” Hart said. “I’m used to both here at St. Thomas.”

Hart is looking to make a verbal commitment around Christmas, but it could be pushed back to accommodate a fifth official visit. Louisville and Texas A&M are under consideration for that final official trip. That final trip would be taken the first weekend following the upcoming Dead Period.

Hart’s UNC stay included tours of the campus and facilities, as well as copious amounts of time with player host Shakeel Rashad. Like Hart, Rashad, a bandit, is a Floridian.

“[Rashad] just really showed me around and how to have a good time out there,” Hart said. “He was just showing me how to adapt up there, the ways it’s similar to Florida, and the environment around there.”

Hart also spent time with UNC assistant coaches Larry Porter and Ron West. Porter recruits south Florida for UNC, while West coaches the Tar Heels’ linebackers.

“They were telling me it really fits me up there, because the academics up there were great,” Hart said. “And they said I would have an opportunity to fight for a position and start [early on].”

Throughout his stay, Hart conversed with Larry Fedora and met with the head coach Sunday afternoon.

“He said basically everything around there is family,” Hart said. “He’s like a father figure to all the players out there. He’s only out there to help us try to get better.”

Unlike others who officially visited this past weekend, Hart was able to attend UNC’s basketball win over East Carolina thanks to his late arrival.

“The atmosphere out there is great,” Hart said. “They played East Carolina and it was a good game. They were balling out there.”

This Friday, Hart will aim to help Aquinas claim its eighth state title. The Raiders will play Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.

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