BUFORD, Ga. --- Jonathan Gibson has a strong desire to visit North Carolina. Unfortunately, his two attempts this spring to make the five-hour drive have failed.
"But, I'm very interested in North Carolina," the Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek defensive back said. "When Coach [Charlton] Warren was there, I was kind of getting a good feel for the program.
"And then Coach [Terry] Joseph came in and picked it up. He has just influenced me on the stuff that they have there and how Chapel Hill really looks. He said it's the best program ever. It really influenced me to want to see if for myself."
Initially, Gipson had planned to accept UNC's invitation to the junior day that was held in conjunction with the basketball game against Duke a month ago. But, the 6-foot, 180-pounder's transportation plans fell through. Then, he had everything in order -- or so he thought -- to attend the Tar Heels' junior day on March 25. However, he chose to remain home so that he'd be completely fresh for the Nike Opening Regional held the following day.
Gipson is hopeful his third attempt will be the charm. He's unsure when exactly said attempt will take place but assumes it will occur this summer.
Although UNC's proximity to his home has made it difficult to visit, Gipson says location won't play a role in his collegiate decision.
"Oregon State offered and I'm thinking about going there," Gipson said. "It doesn't matter the distance."
This spring, Gipson has found ways to Clemson, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Auburn and South Carolina have emerged as early favorites for Gipson.
"I like Auburn's recruiting class; they ranked No. 9 or 11 depending on the website," Gipson said. "South Carolina, I think they have great depth at DB. I think they'll be able to develop me and make me a better defensive back.
"I just have to keep doing my research on some schools."
Without a visit, Gipson's knowledge of UNC is limited to what Warren and Joseph have told him.
"I don't know too much about North Carolina," Gipson said. "So, a visit is going to be pretty important."
On his July 8 birthday, Gipson plans to do something special recruiting related. It could be simply announcing his final five schools. Or, if he's ready, he could make a verbal commitment.
For 13-1 Mill Creek, which didn't lose until meeting eventual champion Loganville (Ga.) Grayson in the semifinals of Georgia's highest classification, Gipson collected 54 tackles and 10 pass breakups, and tied for the team lead in interceptions (three). He returned two of his INTs for touchdowns.