Q&A with J.T. Cauthen
Judging by your previous favorite schools lists, your decision to commit to UNC is somewhat surprising. How did UNC ostensibly come out of nowhere to land your commitment?
“They kind of jumped up in my list, because my relationship with Coach [Gunter] Brewer is very strong. Ever since freshman year, he and I have been tight. And we’ve always had that relationship to where I could talk to him about anything whenever – like he’s a coach of my own like [Coach David] Johnson. He comes out and supports me at my games. And then even at morning workouts he was there supporting me.
“Not only that, I had a talk with my parents about the school. They think it was a good choice for me and they’re happy with it. And overall, I think it’s a great decision.”
When did UNC’s jump up your list happen? When did it become your leader?
“I kept it low-key, obviously. But, I’d say a couple of weeks ago they started to really jump up. That’s when I really started to think about my decision. It sort of started to hit me how supportive Coach Brewer was of me.”
When did you tell Brewer that you were leaning towards UNC?
“I told Coach Brewer [on Tuesday]. I told him and [Larry] Fedora.”
Did Brewer have any idea or was it a complete surprise?
“Honestly, I’m not even sure. I don’t think he really knew, but I don’t know.”
What were Brewer’s and Fedora’s reactions?
“They were very excited. They were very stunned. But, at the same time they were welcoming me. And they were saying that they were very happy that I was committing to their school and that they would love to have me there.”
The decision to commit after your junior football season has been your plan since at least August. Why was it so important for you to make a commitment over a year before your Signing Day?
“I thought that making a decision now would show them that I actually want to be at their school. But then again, I’m still going to continue my process of recruiting because it’s a verbal. Anything can happen – I hate to say it. So I’m going to do what I can to stay ahead.”
Does that mean you’re going to visit other schools? If so, who?
“Yes, there’s a few: probably like Michigan, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia maybe.”
When’s the next time you’ll be back in Chapel Hill?
“Probably pretty soon. I’ll probably stay the weekend or something.”
With your commitment, UNC is putting together an impressive 2017 class already – you are one of three four-stars. How does it feel to be a part of the foundation for this class?
“It shows that players can come together and make a team even better. But, [the UNC coaches] have a lot of guys that they’re recruiting. I think I know a couple of guys who are going to commit to the school, too.”
Will you do any recruiting?
“I might, absolutely. I’m not sure who, yet.”