WALDORF, Md. --- The genesis of North Carolina's inclusion in Rasheed Walker's top schools list is the four-star offensive tackle's fandom.
"I've actually always been a North Carolina fan," Walker said. "But when I finally got the offer and I started talking to the coach, I felt like there was real chemistry between us. When I finally went up there, I fell in love with the place -- it was real nice. And I liked the program and what they're doing with it. And I like the whole coaching staff."
Walker, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder from North Point High, became a UNC fan during his youth. It began with his Pop Warner team, which was called the "FBR Tar Heels." The logo didn't resemble UNC's, but its primary colors were Carolina Blue and White.
"I was just like, 'I'm a Tar Heel, I'm a Tar Heel,'" Walker said. "And I found out Michael Jordan went there."
Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech round out the remainder of Walker's top six.
"Those six schools are mainly the schools that I've been in touch with since last year when I started getting my offers," Walker said. "I guess, with those schools I have the best relationships with. And I've actually gone to go see all those schools for myself more than once, for the most part. And I liked what I saw."
Walker first visited UNC in January for a junior day. He returned less than two months later for its elite junior day, which -- unlike the first junior day -- was more flash than informational.
"When I first walked into the doors there was a lot of energy," Walker said of the elite junior day. "I got to interact more with the coaches and the staff; we had more quality time together, basically."
Of course, the highlight of the elite junior day was the UNC-Duke basketball game, which concluded its itinerary.
"It was amazing -- it was crazy," Walker said of the Battle of the Blues. "And plus it was a good game, too -- the score was neck and neck; so anything could happen and the crowd would go crazy."
Though he doesn't have anything scheduled, Walker plans on continuing to make recruiting trips. Most of those trips will be returns to his top six, but he plans to also see schools outside of the sextuplet. Those travels will help create order and/or tiers to his favorite schools list.
"I'm showing love to all of them," Walker said. "I can't really tell you right now who I'm leaning towards more, because I really don't know. It's a hard decision to make."
Ideally, Walker hopes to make that hard decision (i.e. a verbal commitment) midway through the summer.
Walker says Fedora's Freak Show will likely be among his summer travels.
In the meantime, UNC assistant coaches Chris Kapilovic, who coaches the O-line, and John Papuchis, who recruits the DMV, have been teaming up on Walker.
"They just tell me that they have something special going on down there and they really need me and they're rebuilding the program," Walker said. "They're just being real with me."