When D.J. Crossen ended his near five-month commitment to North Carolina, defensive back coach Charlton Warren's departure was a primary reason. Thus, establishing a relationship with Terry Joseph, Warren's replacement, is paramount to getting Crossen back in the boat. UNC took a major step in that department during Saturday's junior day -- it provided him his first in-person interaction with Joseph.
"He's a great guy," Crossen said. "I know he's very experienced in what he does. And I just have to give him a fair shot to get to know him and build a relationship with him to see what he has to offer me if I were to play for him at the next level."
Originally, Crossen committed to UNC in August following Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley's season-opener. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound cornerback withdrew his pledge in late January.
Crossen admitted that Saturday's experience in general put UNC on the track to regaining his commitment.
"Just getting to meet Coach Joseph really took some stress off me and relieved me," Crossen said. "But, the visit -- because I haven't been back there in a long time, so getting back there -- made me realize how comfortable I feel on campus."
Regardless, Crossen's recruitment status remains the same: he's wide open to all comers.
"Honestly, I just feel like I should weigh out all my options and visit all the schools that I haven't been to and give them a fair shot," Crossen said. "I need to pick whatever is best for me."
Crossen is unsure when he'll make another verbal commitment. He believes he'll enter the football season uncommitted, though.
Since de-committing, Crossen has visited Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech, in addition to UNC. He's in the process of scheduling trips to Maryland and West Virginia.
Crossen is also working to get back to UNC for a spring practice. There, his focus will be furthering his relationship with Joseph and watching UNC's new DB coach in a practice setting.
"I want to see how he operates with the team and his players," Crossen said.
Crossen has been to multiple basketball games in the Smith Center, but Saturday marked his first UNC-Duke basketball game.
"It's a totally different atmosphere," Crossen said. "It's crazy. We have rivalry games in Greensboro, but it's nothing at that type of level. To see the loyalty of the fans -- even though it's not football -- is just outstanding."
Leading up to said basketball game, was a junior day itinerary that impressed and shocked Crossen.
"They were very created with it," Crossen said. "I liked the whole aspect about it -- how they made it about the recruits mostly. As soon as I walked into the doors, they made it all about me and made me feel important. It surprised me."
Like most junior day attendees, Crossen was excited to see Michael Jordan's halftime announcement that UNC Football would now wear Jordan Brand uniforms. But Crossen had a unique perspective on the partnership.
"It's all about the tradition," Crossen said. "Everyone that has been through Carolina comes back, even to the highest point. It really just shows the tradition and loyalty that UNC has."