A spring promise will lead Tennessee verbal commitment Jaquan Henderson to officially visit North Carolina this coming weekend.
"Coach [Charlton] Warren, he came down in the beginning of the spring and I promised him I was going to come check [North Carolina] out," Henderson said. "He wanted me to come check the facility out and see what North Carolina has to offer me."
Henderson's intentions to honor his promise were reaffirmed during the Contact Period. Throughout that portion of the recruiting calendar, the 6-foot-1, 197-pound linebacker from Covington (Ga.) Newton opened his home to Gene Chizik, UNC defensive coordinator, John Papuchis, UNC's linebackers coach, as well as Warren.
"Since the first day we met, we built a relationship," Henderson said. "I told them that I made a promise to them that I was going to come up for a visit and check the facility out. This weekend was the perfect time to come down, so I'm coming down."
Since June, Henderson has been verbally committed to Tennessee. He went on to take pre-Dead Period official visits to Big Ten programs Indiana, Michigan State, and Nebraska. However, those three schools have since been eliminated from contention.
"It's down to Tennessee and North Carolina," Henderson said. "So what could possibly lead me to change my mind is this weekend to see what [UNC] has to offer. I'm taking my visit to North Carolina and I'm taking my other visit to Tennessee. It's narrowed down, so I'm taking my last two visits to my last two schools."
The weekend following his UNC official visit, Henderson will officially visit Tennessee. He'll make a final decision shortly thereafter.
"The main factor is which one can help me the most in all aspects of life and football," Henderson said. "And the people are important, because I'm going to be around the people more than anything. The people [and] the players, the way they do things."
Since this weekend's trip will be his first to Chapel Hill, Henderson aims to learn a great deal about UNC.
"I know just a little bit about North Carolina -- not a lot," Henderson said. "I'm hoping to learn about the football perspective and the networking and just the people in general. I want to know about the people that are around the facilities."
Speaking of people, UNC might have an ace in the hole in fellow Georgia linebacker Malik Robinson, who's been committed to UNC since April.
"Malik and I are good friends," Henderson said. "We've been talking about it. He told me how he would like to have me on board. Like I told him, it's going to come down to the visit this weekend."
Robinson will also be taking his UNC official visit this weekend.
"It's nice to have someone around that you know," Henderson said. "But at the same time, you still want to get a feel for the place for yourself to see how it is."
UNC projects Henderson to hold a unique role within its linebacking corps.
"They see me like an outside guy who's like a hybrid," Henderson said. "A guy that's just athletic that does a lot of different things and is naturally a football player. They see me being out there and being an athlete. They want to line me up against wide receivers, have me come off the edge, and a guy that can come in and make tackles."
Henderson was certainly an athlete for Newton this past season. He lined up at cornerback, safety, linebacker, running back, and receiver. He finished the year 52 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles.