McKinney's Surprising Switch

North Carolina fans weren’t the only ones caught off guard by Prentice McKinney’s commitment switch from Notre Dame to North Carolina. The move surprised coach R.J. Bond, who handles recruiting for Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff.

“He was committed to Notre Dame for a while, so I kind of was a little surprised,” Bond said. “I was a little surprised, but I knew he liked what he saw [during his UNC official visit].”

McKinney, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety, had been verbally committed to Notre Dame since last March.

UNC assistant coach Larry Porter began recruiting McKinney late last summer. The two kept in contact into the football season and beyond.

“Through their conversations, Prentice felt as though that was a place that he’d be interested in going to check out,” Bond said. “He wanted to see all they had to offer.”

With that said, McKinney scheduled an official visit to UNC for this past weekend. The trip was kept secret to protect McKinney’s relationship with Notre Dame. But his whereabouts quickly leaked out by the end of the weekend.

“After he got back, I talked with him a little bit – not too much, because as an adviser to the process we never push a kid or tell a kid what he should do,” Bond said. “But from me talking to Prentice, I could tell he came away from his visit very impressed with all that North Carolina had to offer. And it did kind of seem like he was questioning his commitment to Notre Dame.”

McKinney's teammate Jamile Johnson was verbally committed to UNC for roughly a month before flipping to Texas.

Bond hasn’t discussed with McKinney whether he’s finished taking official visits.

“I think he’s pretty happy with his commitment,” Bond said. “But again, we’re talking about 16-, 17-year old kids – you know how that goes…. When I talked to him [on Thursday], he seemed like he was happy with his decision.”

According to Bond, UNC is getting a physical, ball-hawking free safety for its defense. However, Bond hasn’t talked to UNC’s coaches specifically about how McKinney will fit into the scheme that Gene Chizik is installing in Chapel Hill.

“I’ve known Coach Chizik for a while, so I know he has put together a good plan,” Bond said.

During the 2014 season, McKinney recorded 89 tackles and five interceptions. Two of his picks were returned for touchdowns. He is ranked the No. 35 safety in the nation by

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