I was making it on the way up. The last two weeks I’ve just really been trying to narrow down and figure it out between them and South Carolina. Getting back to both schools a lot and seeing them and really trying to figure out which place was the best fit for me. Coming out today, and I had a good feeling all week … Just getting out here, seeing everybody, hanging out with the players. That was the biggest thing I wanted to do, see how much a fit I was with them. I just felt like it was a really good place for me.
You visited about a week ago. What effect did that visit have on me?
It was different. It was a one-on-one – I’d never come up here for a one-on-one visit here like I had done at a bunch of other places. It was really great to see everything, hang out with Coach Kap all day, see the academic support building, see the business building – which is what I think I’m going to study when I come here – get to see the practice field. I got to do everything I hadn’t been able to through junior days or football games. It was a really great visit and made it so I really liked this place and left with a great feeling.
What was it ultimately that made you want to commit?
The feel. It felt like me. It felt like a place that I belong. I’ve been having that gut feeling for a while and fighting it just to make sure it’s the right one. Coming here today, meeting everybody, hanging out – I just knew it was the place for me.
When did the commitment happen?
It was in the middle of drills. I was just watching Coach, and I had been talking to the players earlier and everything was coming together. I walked over to my parents and I was like, ‘Hey, y’all, I want to commit.’ My mom and dad , they usually have something like ‘You sure you don’t want to think about it a little more?’ But they knew when I said it, I meant it. It’s a relief. I knew it and it’s 100 percent.
What makes this event unique?
The night atmosphere is really cool – I love that. They just do different stuff here, it’s a better atmosphere. Going to the weight room and doing a 225-bench thing, that was different – never done that anywhere. And working out on the field, with the lights, and Coach Fedora being such a part of it, it’s cool.
Did the NCAA stuff come up in your mind at all?
It has, but the more I talk to Coach about it, the more he says the same thing and I’m 100 percent with him on that. It’s that the NCAA, in the (Notice of Allegations), they never named football specifically, so I just trusted him and knew he wouldn’t lie to me or anything like that, so I knew they’ll be ok.
Did that come up when talking with other schools?
A little bit. Some schools will pick at it, but most won’t negative recruit.
What was your runner-up school?
South Carolina. I liked them a lot just from the perspective of familiarity with the SEC and that place is a lot like the places I grew up going to and watching like my old favorite, which was Auburn … But when it came down to it, it wasn’t home – and this feels like the place for me.
Can you talk about your relationship with Coach Kapilovic and how that factored into this?
I’ve known Coach Kap probably longer than any other coach in this whole recruiting process. From the get-go, he always showed love to me. They were always a little slower to throw an offer out there, which I didn’t like at the time but now know they really wanted to mean it when they offered. I was really excited when they offered. As things got crazier and crazier, I sort of forgot about him, but Coach Kap was very determined – really determined, at the end especially, to get me. I was really loving how much he liked me, how he coaches, the type of guy he is – all around a good coach.