D.J. Crossen, a 2018 cornerback, announced on Thursday that he has backed out of his commitment to North Carolina.
“Honestly, Coach [Charlton] Warren leaving played a big role [in my decision to de-commit],” Crossen said. “And also, I’ve wanted to just explore my options and now I can do that without being committed to anybody.”
Originally, Crossen, a 6-foot-1, 182-pounder from Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley, verbally committed to UNC following his junior season opener last August. He had always planned to continue to visit other schools, but when Warren, who coached the Heels’ defensive backs, departed for Tennessee, Crossen began to rethink his pledge.
“Coach Kap [Chris Kapilovic] texted me right away [when the news broke] to just see how I was doing and how I was feeling about it,” Crossen said.
Crossen says UNC “of course” continues to be in play. But, he stopped short of naming the Tar Heels his leader.
“I’m reevaluating everything,” Crossen said. “I’m going to look at whoever is interested in me.”
Six schools have offered Crossen: East Carolina, Louisville, NC State, Wake Forest, and UNC.
Expectedly, establishing a relationship with Warren’s replacement, Terry Joseph, will be paramount to Crossen rejoining UNC’s commitment list. Crossen and Joseph have spoken on the phone.
“He was basically just touching base,” Crossen said. “He was telling me about himself and asking me about myself. He told me what his expectations are and what type of coach he is, basically.
“He seemed like a great person and all, but him and I both expressed the fact that we’re ready to meet each other, which will be sometime in March for the Carolina junior day. I’m just excited to meet him and just what type of coach, in-person, he is.”
The junior day Crossen speaks of is the one on March 4 that will be held in conjunction with the UNC-Duke basketball game. He has attended Tar Heel basketball games in the past, but this will be his first UNC-Duke basketball game.
“I’m excited,” Crossen said. “That’s a tough ticket to get.”
Crossen’s focus, though, is getting to know Joseph.
“I’ll probably spend a lot of time with [Joseph] one-on-one actually, instead of being around everyone else,” Crossen said.