Donte Burton phoned Larry Fedora on Thursday afternoon to withdraw his long-time commitment to North Carolina, according to his father, Dexter
"He just said with the changes, he didn't know what was going on," Dexter said. "He just wanted to open up and see some other places because of all the changes. And he wanted to do it without everybody asking him about North Carolina and trying to put North Carolina down. That's what he told Fedora."
Burton, a 5-foot-11, 172-pound cornerback from Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett, originally verbally committed to UNC last July. At the time, Charlton Warren was the Heels' defensive backs coach and recruited Gwinnett County, and Gene Chizik was the defensive coordinator. Since then, both have left the staff. Terry Joseph replaced Warren in both capacities, while John Papachis was promoted to DC.
Fedora was grateful for how Burton handled the situation.
"Fedora just said, 'I appreciate it, because most guys would de-commit without saying anything, I'm glad you called me, because that shows what kind of person you are,'" Dexter said. "Then [Fedora] asked, 'Are we still in it?' And Donte said, 'Of course you're still in it. I still love North Carolina, the program. I just haven't had an open chance to see what the other schools are doing.'
"Plus, he's interested in engineering and North Carolina doesn't have the type of engineering that he's interested in. At the same time, he has a couple interests as far as majors. It's either engineering or education that he wants to go into."
Not only are the Tar Heels still "in it," Dexter says that UNC remains the team to beat.
"[Donte] said that North Carolina is still his No. 1, because he knows the school and he knows the head coach," Dexter said. "But that's basically all he knows right now -- he doesn't know any of the other new guys, except for talking on the phone a few times with Joseph. [Donte] always tells me, 'I really don't know anybody.' He kind of felt he was left on the side a little bit. So, he just wanted to open up and see other places."
A major step in familiarizing himself with UNC's new defensive coaches is Burton getting on campus. A visit would provide him his first opportunity to meet Joseph in-person.
Two recent attempts to visit UNC fell through. Just last Saturday, he was supposed to attend the Tar Heels' spring game with Dexter providing the transportation. Unfortunately, Dexter, who was working a job just over the NC board in South Hill, Va., was unable to return home at a convenient time.
"Last week, we would have been there, but I couldn't get back [to Georgia] until early Saturday morning and I knew I was going to be dead tired and wasn't going to be able to get back out," Dexter said.
Dexter says that Donte will once again attend Fedora's Freak Show this June, but could also visit sooner.
Dexter stresses that, other than UNC, Donte is wide open. But, Oregon, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia are among the schools that he has an interest in.