Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

UNC Blew CB Tray Leonard Away

Tray Leonard completed his commitment switch from Florida Atlantic to North Carolina on Monday. The Fla. defensive back then talked to Inside Carolina about his decision.

Traivon Leonard Q&A

Tell me what happened.

“Basically, I’ve flipped my commitment [from FAU to UNC]. 

“I talked to Coach [Charlie] Partridge. I wanted to have a man to man conversation with him, instead of going on Twitter like a lot of kids do and tweet out that they’re de-committing. I just wanted to thank Coach Partridge for the opportunity that he gave me. I have nothing but love for those coaches and that program is definitely going in the right direction. And I love everything about that program, as well. 

“But, I couldn’t pass up the UNC opportunity – especially the academic part of it. I went up there and loved it from the time I got off the plane to the time I left. I loved the weather, the people, and I already had an idea of what the school was but it still blew me away. I liked how they run the defense. Just being at the school and being around the players it really blew me away. I loved it.

“This is the last go around. I’m going to close my recruitment down after this."

When did you let the UNC coaches know?

“I let them know when I was up there – the last day when I was up there. I wanted to make that happen before I left. I obviously had to call Coach Partridge and tell him what was going on [before I made it public].”

How did the UNC coaches respond?

“(laughs) They were fired up. Coach [Larry] Fedora was fired up. I talked to Coach Fedora for about 15-20 minutes and he was fired up for the whole conversation. And I like that energy. Once I committed, I think it pushed the bar to another level.”

When did you actually de-commit from FAU?

“I let them know [on Monday]. I called today.”

You had a team camp at FAU late last week. Why didn’t say anything then?

“I just kind of kept it cool, because we had a lot of things going on during the day and I didn’t want to distract the coaches from anything. I just let the camp ride out… I really didn’t want to be a big distraction.”

You’ve been committed to FAU for about six months. How difficult was it to de-commit?

“It was very difficult. I thought this out for weeks. I just didn’t know what to say, because from Coach Partridge to the student coaches they just showed me so much love. And I felt at home, obviously, when I committed. Just to think about what I was going to say was one of the hardest things of my life.”

When you say you’re shutting down your recruitment, does that mean you’re finished visiting schools outside of UNC?

“Yea, I’m pretty much done. I’m just going to shut it down. And I’m 100-percent committed to UNC.”

When’s the next time you expect to be back at UNC?

“During the season. I’m probably going to go to one of the big games and get up there with the players again, because I loved being around the players and they made me feel at home… It’s a direct flight so I can get up there quick.”

Have you been in contact with any of UNC’s commitments?

“I haven’t. I want to get in contact with them. I think that would be a good idea, since we’re going to be teammates. 

“I’ve been talking to the players. I love M.J. Stewart and ‘Big Sweet’ [William Sweet]. Those are some great guys.”

During the camp, you spent a lot of time with Ameer Speed. Are you two close? Will you recruit him?

“We actually did get pretty close during the camp. I asked him about his recruitment and he said UNC was in his top three. I’m going to push him to come, because he’s a good player – he’s actually a great player. I have much respect for him and I would want to play at the opposite [cornerback] from him.”

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