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'Mature Connection' Helps Lead USC OL Grad Transfer Khaliel Rodgers to UNC

USC graduate transfer Khaliel Rodgers decided to continue his playing career at UNC. He selected UNC over a slew of options. The 6-foot-3, 315-pound offensive lineman discussed his decision with Inside Carolina...

Khaliel Rodgers Commitment Q&A

Why did you decide to transfer to UNC?

"North Carolina is a great school. It was one of the schools that decided to give me an offer early on when I decided to actually announce I was going to leave [Southern Cal] as a graduate transfer. It's just a great coaching staff and they gave me an opportunity. I really thought to myself that it was a great opportunity for me, because it's only like a 50-minute flight from home, it's a great area, a great program, and everything just seems to be right there."

What other options did you have?

"I had over 30 offers when I decided to transfer. My biggest among them were Baylor, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Pitt, Penn State, a lot of Big 12 and SEC schools."

You originally decided to transfer to Iowa State. What happened there?

"I had originally committed to Iowa State. At the time, I believed the situation there was the best for me. But, after talking it over with family -- and family being the main/biggest reason -- being closer to family stood out to me. They can take that 50-minute flight to come see me play. Vice versa, I can see my son, as well. That was pretty big."

When did you actually make the decision to transfer to UNC?

"I've actually been thinking about it for about the past week or so. I actually just told Coach 'Kap' [Chris Kapilovic] that I'd be coming [on Thursday]."

What role did Kapilovic, UNC's O-line coach, play into your decision?

"It played a lot. Coach Kap definitely had a lot of connections with a lot of coaches that I know, especially at SC because I've been through numerous coaching staffs at USC. He understands my situation, being a graduate transfer and understands it's one year to go and he knows what's at stake. I have a family at home and a family I have to provide for. It's a very mature connection between him and I. We have an awesome relationship and I'm excited to work with him.

"It wasn't only Coach Kap, but Coach [Larry] Fedora, as well. 

"And then even guys early on when they first offered me, such as Coach [Gene] Chizik. Coach Chizik was a big key early in the process, because he's a guy who had he stayed at Auburn I probably would have ended up at Auburn [out of high school]. My top two [coming out of high school] were Auburn and USC."

What was Kapilovic's pitch?

"It was great, because he basically laid everything out for me and didn't sugarcoat anything. He just said he wanted me to come down and see how things look and let me decide from there. He basically showed me what he needed to show me to say, 'Hey, look this is what we've got and you can choose if you need to come here or not.' That's what I did. He explained the situation on the line and I feel like I can come in and compete for a job."

Where along the O-line does he see you fitting in at?

"Either guard or center, it doesn't really matter. When I get there, they'll plug me in somehow. 

"Nothing is ever a handout or given free. I expect to go in and work my butt off, as I would anywhere. I just have the mindset to compete for a starting job."

What's your eligibility situation?

"I have one year of eligibility left and I'll be eligible right away. I played four years here [at USC] and then I'll use the fifth year to play at North Carolina."

When will you graduate from USC and when will you enroll at UNC?

"It's still in the talks, as far as when I enroll. But, I'll enroll as early as possible. I graduate [from USC] the first week of May. I'm thinking I'll probably end up getting in [at UNC] shortly after that."

You are the third graduate transfer that UNC has added to its roster. A fourth, Brandon Harris, is officially visiting this weekend. Have you spoken to any of those guys?

"Me and Stanton Truitt have been talking a lot. When I went down there to visit -- I think it was their first week of their spring ball is when I came -- and Stanton wasn't practicing yet and him and I were talking. He went to Auburn, so I had a connection with him, because there were a lot of guys that I knew that of course he knew at Auburn. Ever since then we've been talking. He told me he just got 'padded up' this week."

What else went on during your UNC official visit?

"I met a lot of their guys there. I'm just ready to get there and get to work."

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