Five-star running back Zamir White has made countless visits to North Carolina. Even though he attended last year's "Battle of the Blues" in Chapel Hill, in-person UNC-Duke basketball games never lose their glimmer.
"He thought it was an awesome atmosphere," Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland County head coach Richard Bailey said. "He thought it was the best atmosphere he's been to. He was pretty excited about that."
As part of its elite junior day on Saturday, UNC treated its visitors to the basketball game.
White, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, arrived roughly two hours after the junior day had began. Given his late arrival, Bailey is unsure how much of the junior day activities White was able to enjoy. However, White did return home raving about the UNC football team's partnership with the Jordan Brand, which was announced at halftime of the basketball game.
"He's a big Jordan shoe hound," Bailey said. "He wears Jordans all the time, that's like his thing. So, he thought it was pretty neat that the Jordan Brand was going to be part of the football program."
From what Bailey could gather, White spent much of the night with Tar Heel linebacker Jonathan Smith. White and Smith aren't merely former teammates -- they are close friends. In fact, most of White's prior visits to UNC have been strictly to see Smith and free of recruiting.
On Saturday night, according to Bailey, White and Smith watched UNC beat Duke in the Smith Center. The duo then celebrated on Franklin Street with the masses. As usual, White spent the night in Smith's dorm room.
"They hung out with the other football players," Bailey said. "[White] said that was pretty neat. Obviously, going downtown to just be a part of the celebration."
Perhaps more than anyone, Bailey has a complete understanding of White's and Smith's relationship -- and how it could help UNC potentially land White.
"Obviously, Jon is [Zamir's] best friend," Bailey said. "So, that's going to impact a little bit. But, I do think at the end of the day, [Zamir] is going to go where he feels it's the best fit for him football wise, as well as socially. Obviously, having Jon there is helping the social aspect for North Carolina. But, he's going to go where he thinks he fits in the best football wise, as well. [Smith's and White's friendship] definitely doesn't hurt, by any means."
A couple of weeks ago, White tweeted out a top four consisting of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and UNC. Many assumed that he wasn't considering any schools outside of that quartet, but Bailey says that would be a misnomer. In fact, Bailey believes LSU and Ohio State remain in play, albeit running fifth and sixth.
"I would say that he's gotten down to five or six," Bailey said. "I've had all kinds of people calling me the past two or three months and I've told them it's too late -- from Southern Cal to UCLA to Baylor to you name it. I've just told them that he has it in his mind his five or six schools."
Like many observers, Bailey has attempted to forecast where White will spent his college years.
"Every time I think that it's one way, something else happens," Bailey said. "I really thought he was really high on Ohio State, and they didn't even make his top four. I don't know exactly what changed there.
"I'd say here lately Georgia it seems like has been really high on his list and Alabama. Those are the places he's visited most recently. But, I don't know if I read too much into that -- I heard him tell someone that it was Georgia and Clemson No. 1 and No. 2."
Bailey believes that UNC will be in it for White until the very end, if for no other reason but his relationship with Smith.
"I would think that Carolina would be one of those schools that may never be out of it, even when he announces in June," Bailey said.
White is scheduled to make his verbal commitment on June 27, his mother's birthday.
"Just to be honest with you, he just wants to get it over with to this point," Bailey said. "He's just really, really tired of the whole recruiting thing. I don't know if it's a good reason to [commit] or not, but he definitely just wants to get it over with. He's hoping that [a commitment] will calm it down some."