When Dominique Ross learned that his coaches were carting a handful of his Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian teammates to Chapel Hill for North Carolina’s camp on Monday, he decided to tag along to unofficially visit a school he has heard so much about.
“Before the visit, I thought it was a small school [and] I didn’t really know about the atmosphere,” Ross said. “But when I got there it felt good [and] I liked it a lot. I plan on visiting again.”
Ross, a 6-foot-3, 203-pound linebacker, is unsure when a return trip will take place.
In addition to eliciting a return trip, Monday’s stay has inserted UNC into Ross’s favorite schools list. It’s one of four programs – among the approximately 30 that have offered – to earn such distinction. Miami, UCLA, and Virginia Tech round out the remainder of the list.
“Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Miami, those are all schools that I’ve visited and I like what the coaches are saying to me,” Ross said. “And I feel like I could fit in their scheme.
“With UCLA, I just like the fact that it’s in California, it’s a good degree, and the football team is pretty good.”
Besides actually visiting their campuses, there’s a second unmistakable difference between the trio of Miami, UNC, and Virginia Tech, and UCLA – they’re located on opposite coasts. Ross says that won’t play a role in his ultimate collegiate decision.
“I really want to leave the south anyway,” Ross said. “If I can’t take an [unofficial] visit out there [to UCLA], I’ll take an official visit out there. And if I like it, it will probably be one of my tops.”
The majority of the positive UNC remarks originated from Ross’s former teammate Andre Smith. After playing side-by-side at linebacker with Ross the past couple of years, Smith enrolled at UNC in January.
“He told me it’s a special place,” Ross said. “He told me I’d like it – and when I got there, I did. Right now, whatever he tells me I’ll buy it.”
Ross says that Smith’s role is more advisor than recruiter. Smith is one of 13 Trinity Christian players to sign with an FBS school last February, but he’s the one to which Ross is closest.
“Andre and I came from the same side of town of Jacksonville,” Ross said. “If anyone’s close, then I’m close to him.”
Ross said that he’s also good friends with Kendrick Norton, an offensive guard who signed with Miami.
During UNC’s camp on Monday, Ross paid close attention to how John Papuchis coached the linebackers.
“I could tell that he knew what he was talking about,” Ross said. “And I could see myself learning and being coached by him.”
Ross’s visit also included a lengthy meeting with Gene Chizik, UNC’s new defensive coordaintor.
“He talked about me fitting the scheme of the defense and how I’d be able to possibly make plays,” Ross said. “I remember him going to the championship with Cam Newton. He told me about the defenses that he had – he has had the best defense in college football. He told me that [after Auburn] he went into TV, but he wanted to come back and help the North Carolina defense because it wasn’t doing too well the last couple of years. He said he wanted me to help him out with turning it around. He wanted me to be a part of that – that interested me a lot.”
Ross also met individually with Larry Fedora.
“We talked about academics,” Ross said. “He told me the next time I visit, I could talk to the person who’s head of the business department. Him and I could talk about my classes.”
Although he’s still mulling potential majors, Ross is leaning towards pursuing a business degree in college.
Besides UNC, Ross is considering future trips to LSU, Kentucky, and Virginia Tech.
UNC Pushes into Ross’s Top Four
Inside Carolina Top Stories
The Weekly ScoopInside Carolina's weekly subscriber feature provides the latest inside intel on UNC Basketball's team and recruiting efforts.
Inside Carolina7:24 PM
Sports Illustrated Added to IC MembershipAll new purchases of the Inside Carolina annual membership will now include a full year of Sports Illustrated.
Inside Carolina10:36 AM
Melton is an All-AmericanMelton was presented his Under Armour All-American jersey on Tuesday.
Inside Carolina7:50 AM
ICTV: Next Step for MeeksSenior season outlook for the UNC big man.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 7:50 PM