Q&A with Patrice Rene
After your UNC official visit, you didn’t hide your feelings – you said you were leaning towards UNC. What happened these past couple of days to finally push you to commit?
“After I visited there, I knew in my heart that that’s where I wanted to go. Coach [Charlton] Warren went up to visit my parents to get their blessing on it. After that happened, I was still committed to Rutgers, but I spoke to the [Rutgers] staff and everybody that was recruiting me for Wisconsin [Monday] night and had a real good conversation with all of them. I felt comfortable making that move this morning. I just wanted to get it over with and commit tonight.”
When did you commit?
“When I was heading there for the official visit, I was looking to get my questions answered. I wanted to use that visit as a deciding factor. Before I left once everything was answered, I basically sat down in Coach [Larry] Fedora’s office and committed then and there. But I called him at 7:30 [on Tuesday] to make it official.”
What was the purpose of speaking to Rutgers and Wisconsin on Monday night?
“It was just me being honest about it and letting them know about the whole situation and that I had made my decision. I thanked them for recruiting me. I told them how I felt. Both schools were very supportive about it, blessed me, and wished me good luck. I’m very thankful for that.”
What was it about UNC that won you over?
“Truthfully, it’s really hard to explain. It was just when I was on campus I could just feel it. And then being around Coach [Gene] Chizik and Coach Fedora, Coach ‘JP’ [John Papuchis], [and] Coach Warren it really felt natural to me. Spending time with the recruits that were there that were already committed [and] the guys that were already on the team, I felt they were my brothers and I knew them for a while. I just knew it was the right fit. I fell in love with the school, the campus, the student body was great, and at my school we have a lot of North Carolina alums. Coach Chizik and Coach Warren have plans for me to make an early impact.”
What role did your relationship with Warren play in this decision?
“It played a major role. Coach Warren has been recruiting me for almost a year. Even when I was committed, he never stopped recruiting me. He came to visit me at my school multiple times – same with Coach Fedora, Coach Chizik, [and] Coach JP. That just showed their love. Even when I was a junior and they couldn’t talk to me, they still came early in the morning. My relationship with Coach Warren is great – I met his wife, met his son.”
Warren traveled to Ottawa to spend time with your parents, while you were still in Virginia. What did that say to you?
“That meant a lot – especially coming off of that official on Sunday. It showed that he really cared and had love for me. And he really left a mark on my parents. They fell in love with him, so they gave me that green light and that blessing. I knew then that I was making the right decision.”
Where does UNC see you fitting into its defense?
“With the scheme that they run – a lot of press coverage – they see me playing wherever I see myself fitting the most and that’s where they put me. I told them I wanted to play corner, that’s the position I like the best. But if that doesn’t work out, they feel comfortable playing me at nickel or safety. And I feel comfortable anywhere on that field.”
On Sunday, you still had an official visit scheduled with Rutgers. What’s the status of that trip?
“I won’t be taking any more visits. I’m done with my recruitment now. I’m just focused on learning UNC’s scheme so that when I step on campus I’m ready to go.”