Hopper: 'It Felt Like Home'

North Carolina sealed the deal with Roswell (Ga.) linebacker Tyrone Hopper on Monday. After he gave his Tar Heel commitment, he discussed his decision with InsideCarolina.com ...

Explain what happened today.

“After going through the camp, and learning some things from Coach [John Papuchis] and Coach [Gene] Chizik, I went up to Coach [Larry] Fedora’s office – sat down with him and talked with him about being a Tar Heel. And then I sat down with Coach J.P. and Coach Gene Chizik, and they basically talked about the same thing and we talked a little football. After that, I just felt like it was home for me and it was a great decision for me. My parents felt the same way, so I committed.”

How did you actually commit?

“First, my parents and I went into a meeting room by ourselves. And then I went back into Coach Fedora’s office to let him know. He jumped up and gave me a big hug.”

Heading into this visit, did you anticipate making a commitment?

“In my head, I wanted to commit. But my parents didn’t know. After talking to all the coaches, I let [my parents] know and we just talked about it. And we decided to commit.”

When did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?

“I starting leaning towards North Carolina, I guess, a month ago. I announced that North Carolina and Virginia Tech would make my cut to my top seven. At that time, North Carolina was at the top – even though I said no order.”

Did anything occur that put UNC on top at that time?

“North Carolina, they really just showed me that they really wanted me. Coach Fedora communicated with me, Coach Papuchis [and] Coach Chizik, they talked to me all the time. I just built a great relationship with them and that’s how it all started.”

Why UNC?

“To me, it just felt like home – it’s just a great place. And it was family decision – they really liked it and I really liked it. I liked the coaches, the atmosphere there, the people – that all played a big role.”

Speaking of feeling like home, how does it feel to return to your birth state for college?

“It feels great just knowing I’ll be able to play for my home state. Just being able to represent North Carolina feels great.”

Papuchis took over your recruitment the past couple of months. How significant was that?

“Coach Papuchis, he just told me that he really wanted me as a player and as a person. And he just built that relationship that any player would want to have with their coach.

What was it like working under John Papuchis on Monday?

“It was great. He taught me a lot of new things – flip my hips, footwork, closing in on tackles. It was a great opportunity to work with him.”

You were pulled out of the RB/LB one-on-ones, brought over to the DB/WR one-on-ones, and eventually competed against your brother, Tyneil. What was that like?

“It was a great opportunity for him to go against me. I was just excited to see him try to compete against me. He won one and I won one. It was fun.”

After Tyneil won the first rep, was there pressure to win the second?

“I had to redeem myself.”

Tyneil will also be an FBS player, so what did he think about UNC?

“He loved North Carolina. And I think the coaches really like him too – they just want to see him with the pads on.”

How does UNC plan to use you in its newly installed 4-3 defensive scheme?

“When they brought me off the running backs to cover the tight ends and the slot, they said they wanted to see me cover to see if I could play nickel back. But I think they want me at Will [linebacker].”

You have really compiled the miles this summer. What schools have you visited?

“At the beginning of summer, I started off at Alabama. Then, I went to Mississippi State right after. And then, I went to Kentucky. We went to Louisville after Kentucky. And then we headed to North Carolina.”

You have future summer visits planned. Will you still take them?

“No, I canceled them already. Actually, I’ll be at the Freak Show this Saturday.”

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