Before even visiting campus, North Carolina has been one of the schools in the front of Richard Gouraige's mind. His experience during Saturday's elite junior day obviously did nothing to tarnish the Tar Heels' position with the four-star offensive tackle.
"I still like them a lot," Gouraige said. "I like the coaches and I like the atmosphere on campus."
This summer, Gouraige, a 6-foot-5, 262-pounder from Tampa (Fla.) Cambridge Christian School, plans to narrow his list of over 30 scholarship offers to eight to 10 schools. He says UNC is a shoo-in to make the list. Other locks to make the initial cut include Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State.
"It's just the coaches, really," Gouraige said. "We all have good chemistry going on. We just have to improve on it."
In fact, a coach was the primary reason why Gouraige decided to attend UNC's junior day on Saturday. He has established a strong and extended relationship with Chad Scott.
"He's a real cool dude," Gouraige said of Scott. "He always keeps it real with me. We just talk more outside of football. He just tells me to keep a steady head and keep working hard and don't let this recruiting get to you."
The main event of UNC's junior day -- and the reason that the Heels' staff was able to attract so many high profile recruits -- was Saturday's basketball win over Duke.
"It was crazy," Gouraige said. "Every part of the game was exciting and the whole crowd was into the game."
For Gouraige, a bonus to attending the junior day was getting to see one of his idols, Michael Jordan, in person. Jordan was on campus to make a halftime announcement that the football team would now wear Jordan Brand uniforms.
"It was crazy that he came to the game," Gouraige said. "It was my first time seeing him [in person]. I wanted to meet him, but I wasn't able to meet him, because it would have been [an NCAA violation]."
The events of the day began as soon as Gouraige stepped foot on campus.
"Walking through the doors, right away I shook Coach [Larry] Fedora's hand and all the coaches hands," Gouraige. "Later on, they called each player one-by-one and we took a group picture with all the coaches, that was pretty cool."
Although individual meetings were absent from the junior day's schedule, Gouraige spent plenty of time hanging out with UNC's coaches. In particular, he spoke a lot with Chris Kapilovic, the Heels' offensive line coach.
"I sat down with him and we started having a conversation," Gouraige said. "He told me that I'd be a fit for the school [and] he'd needed guys like me to come in and make an impact. And then he told me to keep working on my craft."
According to Gouraige, he's being projected to play left tackle, high school position, by Kapilovic.
Besides UNC, Gouraige has visited Clemson, Florida, and Florida State. He's scheduled to visit Auburn later this month.
Gouraige isn't exactly sure when he'll make a verbal commitment.
"I can't really put a specific date on it," Gouraige said. "Whenever it happens, it happens. If it's the right fit for me and my family, then I'll make the move."