An official visit to North Carolina has formally pushed the Tar Heels into first place for C.J. Cotman.
"I've always had good feelings about them," Cotman said. "[The official visit] just made it even better. I can't really explain it -- it was a great feeling being out there."
With that said, Cotman, a 5-foot-9, 162-pound athlete from Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic, says UNC is the team to beat.
"They've always shown interest in me," Cotman said. "They never gave up on me. Coach [Chad] Scott has always been there -- well, all their coaches have always let me know what is up and that they still wanted me no matter what. They said it wasn't over until I sign the papers and they said that's when they're going to give me."
Cotman is unsure when exactly a college decision will take place. Before taking the plunge, he plans to take additional official visits. No trips have been scheduled, but Central Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, and South Florida are destinations under consideration.
Earlier this month, Cotman ended his five-month stint on Tennessee's commitment list. That experience has helped him realize what he truly covets in a school.
"What I'm looking for is trust and loyalty in schools," Cotman said. "That's the main thing that I'm looking at since the situation at Tennessee happened."
This past weekend's official visit to UNC was not only his first trip to Chapel Hill, but it was his first official visit overall. During his stay, he toured the entire campus, which allowed him to see both the academic and athletic side of the school.
"It went great," Cotman said. "I loved everything that I saw. I liked how prepared they were and how they show a lot of interest. And the campus is beautiful. I really liked it. It was just a great experience."
Throughout the weekend, Cotman met many of the players and every member of UNC's coaching staff. The highlight was when he, his father, and uncle sat down with Larry Fedora.
"It was a good feeling just to get one-on-one time with [Fedora]," Cotman said. "He told me that he wanted me real bad and they're willing to do anything to get me.
"And I know that they've been showing interest for the longest. Even when I committed to Tennessee they were still on my trail. They never gave up; they weren't one of those teams that just stopped texting me -- stopped trying to get me to come there."
According to Cotman, UNC is recruiting him simply as an athlete.
"[Fedora] just said I'd start off at a position, they don't know if it's receiver or DB," Cotman said. "I'd start off at a position first and get that position down pat. And then I could start doing other things and playing other positions. He wants me to master one position first."
For Clearwater Central Catholic, Cotman ended his senior season with 23 catches for 477 yards and eight touchdowns, and also intercepted two passes and made 48 tackles. Additionally, he also averaged over eight yards on 21 rushes, over 65 yards on three kick returns, and over 20 yards on six punt returns.
Unsurprisingly, Cotman was shadowed by primary recruiter Chad Scott for nearly the entire visit.
"Coach Scott, he was just telling me about everything [and] letting me know what's up," Cotman said. "He was letting me know how good the school is -- the academics, everything.
"But Coach Scott and I, we talk a lot [normally], especially when they started calling. I talk to him everyday. I was around him the whole time I was up there."
K.J. Sails, a true freshman defensive back, served as Cotman's player host for the weekend. Like Cotman, Sails is from the Tampa area. The two knew each other well before Sails committed to UNC a year ago.
"It was great hanging out with somebody from my area," Cotman said. "It was a great experience. I was with somebody that knows where I come from."