Posted by Tommy on May 21, 2015
As a sophomore, I got my first offer from Rutgers. I thought about staying at home for college, obviously.
The New Year came around and I had about five offers at that point. But, some coaches came in and told me that I was too short and, and then they were offering guys from my area instead. That kept getting me madder, because I'd seen guys I know I'm better than get offered by Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State.
But then I started blowing up a little bit more. I probably had 20 offers when I committed. I ended up with more, but North Carolina was the last offer that I counted. It was the last one that mattered.
I actually visited North Carolina a couple of months before they offered. I was in the area to see Duke – because Duke had offered me already – and obviously when you go down to Tobacco Road, you want to visit North Carolina. At that point, I wasn’t in that much contact with North Carolina. I hit up Coach Keith Gilmore and asked if I could visit.
I came in on a Sunday, actually. I think it was Coach Chris Kapilovic’s day off, but he came to campus for two hours anyway. He said to me, “We want to watch you on film. What game film should we watch?” I said, “Watch any film you want.” He told me: “We love you on film, but we need a center so we want to see you snap. So, you’re going to have to come to camp.”
When I went down to North Carolina, I just fell in love, to be honest. My dad said, “I could see you coming here.” And really, I had no clue if they were going to offer me at that point.
During the Spring Evaluation Period, Coach Seth Littrell came to my school first. He basically told me I was offered, but it wasn’t official yet. The offer became official when Coach Kap flew up and watched me snap and work out.
At that point, I was blowing up and I was really feeling South Carolina. I liked the tradition and I liked Coach G.A. Mangus.
But then South Carolina started doing some things that my parents didn’t like – and I didn’t like at all. They told me I was the only center they were recruiting. But then this kid committed to them – Jozie Milton. He was a D-tackle, but they were recruiting him as a center. When I asked Coach Mangus – because we were supposed to visit two days later – he said, “Oh, we’re recruiting you as a guard now.” I wasn’t really feeling that. I think Milton ended up going to TCU in the long run, so they missed out there. And I got the feeling Mangus didn’t think I was that good.
After that, I went to the Nike Camp, won MVP, and got invited to The Opening. My stock soared – my rankings improved, I started to get a lot more offers, and schools that had been recruiting me turned up the heat, including South Carolina.
I eventually narrowed it down to North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia Tech. But I committed to UNC completely out of nowhere. I was supposed to visit Virginia Tech. My bags were packed for that trip, but that night I said, “Mom, I want to go to UNC.” She said: “Are you sure? We’re supposed to be going on this trip in like six hours.” I said, “No mom, I’m ready to commit and I want to go to UNC.” And I called Coach Kap up.
Even though he acted surprised, Coach Kap had to be expecting it. A couple of days before I committed, Coach Kap told me that Brian Chaffin was going to commit to them on Tuesday. He said, “We want you over him, but we’re not going to be able to take two centers. He’s in-state, but if you commit we won’t take him.”
As senior year was going down, I was just thinking about that commitment that I made. I saw all these prospects de-committing and schools kept calling me. It gets really stressful at certain points.
At one point I was thinking about taking some visits to Rutgers, Florida, and Ohio State (there were others that wanted me to visit, but I wasn’t interested). I actually had an official visit scheduled with Rutgers and then Coach Larry Fedora came to the house and that official never took place.
I’m happy I didn’t de-commit or take an official visit. At the end of the day, I’m a Tar Heel.
Entry #1 - I Love Competition