North Carolina will receive the first at-bat with LSU graduate transfer quarterback Brandon Harris, this weekend. If all goes well, it could be his only plate appearance.
The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Bossier City (La.) native doesn't have any official trips scheduled beyond this weekend. But, Arizona, Baylor, Texas, and a few undisclosed SEC schools are trying to slide into his official visit docket.
"There's a chance those visits may get done -- I don't know," Harris said. "North Carolina gets my first visit. Obviously, my first visit is important, because they could obviously wow my dad and continue to do what they've done throughout the process. I'm not thinking with anything other than my head and what's the best situation for me and knowing the offensive system that I want to play in next season."
Harris, who graduates from LSU on Aug. 1 but will be finished with classes at the end of June and thus eligible to enroll at another school this summer, doesn't have an exact date for a decision. He plans to train in Arizona during his spring break in mid-April. Ideally, he hopes to know what school he'll be transferring to a few days after returning from his Arizona trip.
With that said, there exists a real possibility, Harris says, that he makes a verbal commitment during or shortly after this weekend's official visit to UNC.
"I don't rule out anything," Harris said. "Anything is possible, especially since they get the first visit. The talks that we've engaged in, as far as the campus and the style of play and exactly what they're looking at at quarterback, I think I fit the mold for what they're looking for.
"I know for sure that [UNC] and Texas have been the two that really have caught my eye. Tom Herman recruited me for Ohio State when he was the [offensive] coordinator and obviously he has the track record -- kind of like North Carolina -- with quarterbacks. Both of those schools have caught my eye. Again, it's a matter of North Carolina getting the first visit."
Harris had a phone conversation scheduled for Monday night with Keith Heckendorf, UNC's quarterbacks coach, to preview the upcoming visit.
"Obviously, when you're 21 [years old], instead of 18, you know everything that normally goes on from a campus standpoint of school and the nuances of being at a university," Harris said. "I'm sure I'll see the campus, I'm sure I'll tour the academic facility, [and] I'm sure I'll get an opportunity to watch them practice. But, I don't know what else they have planned. I'm just looking forward to getting up there."
Regardless of his visit itinerary, Harris will arrive in Chapel Hill with a mental checklist.
"I'll just check off everything I've already known from the people I've talked to," Harris said. "And then just kind of getting there, getting the opportunity to watch them practice, see the familiarity of what they like to do offensively. And I want an opportunity for my dad to meet their staff, meet Coach [Larry] Fedora, [and] meet Coach Heck.
"Obviously, I want an opportunity to meet Coach Heck in person and meet Coach Fedora, You can talk on the phone all day, but it's nothing like putting a name with a face. I want to pick their brains a little bit offensively about what they like and how they could see me and how they could see this offense ultimately working."
Being a graduate transfer, Harris will be eligible to play this coming season. He has one year of eligibility remaining. Tangentially, Heckendorf has discussed the quarterback situation with Harris.
"I think any time you bring a graduate transfer in -- and I'm not speaking for them, at all, because they haven't told me anything like this, but neither one of us are stupid -- the expectation is to get a good opportunity to play, just because otherwise you and that school wouldn't talk," Harris said. "I'm not asking for anything to be handed to me -- I've always competed for everything I wanted in life.
"At North Carolina, I expect to come in and work my ass off -- and that's anywhere I go, even an [FCS] school. My main goal is to do what the [previous] two quarterbacks have done and to win an ACC Championship."
In addition to regular communication with Heckendorf, several Tar Heel players have reached out to Harris, namely senior wide receiver Austin Proehl and walk-on quarterback Manny Miles. Harris's relationship with Miles goes back far, since his father originally recruited him to LSU.
"Everything I've heard about North Carolina has been very, very positive," Harris said. "The last thing is just me seeing it -- get on campus and getting an opportunity to meet everybody in person."
Recently, Harris fielded a phone call from a former rival, who could soon be snapping him the ball. Fellow graduate transfer Cameron Dillard, who recently decided to continue his playing career at UNC, contacted Harris.
"We got to talk a little bit about old games, like when Florida came into our house and it was a shootout my true sophomore year," Harris said. "He's a grad transfer, too, so he'll move onto campus pretty soon; I think he moves there in a week or so.
"He talked about his time at Florida. Guys don't like to transfer -- when you pick a school, you think it's going to be the right fit. And we just kind of discussed what our whole transition was like and the whole process of redoing [recruiting] a little bit. Obviously, he gave me some great tips and I look forward to utilizing those as I make a decision."
Harris was 10-5 as a starter for LSU. In 25 career games for the Tigers, he completed 54-percent of his passes for 2,756 yards with a 20-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also rushed for 370 yards and seven touchdowns on 97 carries in his career.
As a true freshman in 2014, Harris battled for LSU’s starting quarterback job. He ended up appearing in nine games with one start that season.
Two games into this past season, Harris lost his starting job.
This isn't the first time UNC has recruited Harris. As a four-star quarterback hailing from the 2014 class, the Tar Heels offered Harris, as did Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Ohio State, and Ole Miss. However, Harris never visited Chapel Hill and Caleb Henderson -- who transferred last August to Maryland -- filled UNC’s quarterback void in the class. Harris was a member of the Scout 300 and was ranked the nation’s sixth best quarterback.