Patrice Rene might be technically verbally committed to Rutgers. But, two and a half weeks before Signing Day the 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback is leaning towards another school.
“Right now, [I’m favoring] Carolina because it’s the freshest visit,” Rene said. “But, I really connected there. I can definitely say it was a special time. It cleared up a lot of questions that I had. I’m currently leaning towards Carolina right now.”
One last obstacle stands in UNC’s way with completing the commitment switch: Rene’s official visit to Rutgers.
Rene, an Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal product, is scheduled to officially visit Rutgers the weekend before Signing Day. However, he hopes to move that trip up to this weekend to expedite his decision.
“It being [scheduled for] the last weekend makes it kind of tight, because Signing Day is only a couple of days afterwards,” Rene said.
Rene hopes to finalize his recruitment well before Signing Day.
In addition to UNC, Rene has officially visited Boston College and Wisconsin. But, he says changes on the Eagles staff have forced him to eliminate BC.
When discussing his UNC official visit, Rene couldn’t help but gush about the experience.
“It was great,” Rene said. “It was truly an amazing visit. It was probably one of the best visits. It was definitely eye-opening. I had a great time with the guys, spending time with the coaches (Coach [Larry] Fedora], Coach [Gene] Chizik, Coach [Charlton] Warren, Coach ‘JP’ [John Papuchis]). It was just a great atmosphere. I liked the recruits who had already committed. It was a great time. I really enjoyed it.”
Last spring, Rene made his only other visit to UNC. This time around was obviously much more in-depth. According to Rene, he toured the campus, including complete looks at the football facilities and business buildings.
“I got a chance to sit down with some academic advisors and professors, and ask them questions,” said Rene, who plans to major in business in college.
On Saturday afternoon, Rene watched his first UNC basketball game, which happened to be a victory over archrival NC State.
“It was truly special,” Rene said. “Just with those 20,000 fans in that arena and it was rocking. There was a lot of student body spirit. It was amazing how they were applauding us when we were walking on the court. It definitely tells me that their fans take pride in their team and love the Carolina athlete.”
Rene concluded his UNC official visit on Sunday morning with the customary meeting with Larry Fedora.
“He just told me that I’m a great fit for what they have going on and a school as a whole,” Rene said. “He said that since he started recruiting me he thought that I could be the guy to come in and help them win some championships – not only the ACC, but the National Championship.”
Two players served as hosts for Rene. On Friday, he was paired with freshman William Sweet. And then on Saturday, he hung out with Des Lawrence, who starts at cornerback for UNC.
“William Sweet took care of me,” Rene said. “It was an odd match up, but he’s a great guy and he made the visit special. He made sure I was okay – took care of me, checked up on me, and made sure I had a good time. He definitely gave me a lot of advice and pointers and answered all my questions.
“Des was great. He’s a great guy. We basically spent time with the whole team together. It was a lot of fun. He’s a great young man and I like where the entire DB core’s focus is and what they’re trying to accomplish as a team. It was just a great time being around them.”
Just as important as any other factor, Rene felt he “definitely” fit in with the players at UNC.
“They’re very supportive, they definitely showed that they want me to be a part of what they have going on,” Rene said. “So I had a lot of love from them. It was definitely a good vibe. And also, it felt natural to me. It felt like I’ve known them before, even though it was the first time meeting them. We connected well. I felt like I can play a role in that defense and put my part in and we can do something special there.”