Don Callahan/Inside Carolina

UNC a Lock for Four-star LB Payton Wilson's Finalist List

The in-state linebacker is working on assembling a final seven schools list.

Ostensibly everyday, four-star linebacker Payton Wilson has added a prominent school to his scholarship offer collection.  

"It's a blessing," Wilson said. "It's exciting to get all these big-time schools. But, at the same time, it's overwhelming."

Since Jan. 27, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt have all offered the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Hillsborough (N.C.) Orange.

Having become overwhelming, Wilson is working on pruning his list of scholarship offers to seven schools.

"I'm still narrowing it down," Wilson said. "I really don't have a confirmed seven. But, I'm pretty sure I'm going to put it out within the next week or so."

While several are close, Wilson says the only school that is a lock to make the cut is North Carolina.

"I really enjoy JP [linebackers coach John Papuchis]; he's a great guy," Wilson said. "I love Coach [Larry] Fedora; he's a good Christian guy. And also the 20 minutes down the road thing [is attractive], but that's not a big factor because I can go far away from home."

Speaking of Papuchis, Wilson spent nearly an entire Saturday afternoon with JP while attending UNC's first junior day in late January.

"I hung out with him for most of the day," Wilson said. "I talked to him a lot, which is good because I'm building a relationship.

"He tells me how I'm a prefect fit for their schemes and how [UNC] is only 20 minutes down the road."

The junior day also included a meeting with Fedora.

"He talked about how the school is doing [and] how they're doing," Wilson said. "He talked to my parents a lot, too."

Despite living a stone's throw away, Wilson slept on campus that night in the dorm of freshly enrolled Jonah Melton. Melton's and Wilson's friendship goes back years. They played rec ball together and they believe they're related somehow.

"He loves it up there," Wilson said of Melton. "When I went up there, he had only been up there for about three weeks. He said it was a new adjustment. But, he says he loves everything about it."

Wilson is considering returning to UNC for its exclusive junior day on March 4. That junior day will be held in conjunction with the basketball game against Duke.

After establishing his final seven schools, Wilson will begin to work towards a verbal commitment. He hopes to make his college decision by June.

"Spots are going to start filling up and I'm honestly just ready for it," Wilson said. "And, like I said, it's sort of getting overwhelming."

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