WOODBRIDGE, Va. --- As he begins to truly tackle his recruitment, four-star safety Dashaun Jerkins is walking around with an open mind. However, North Carolina continues to be the team to beat.
"My feelings are still the same, it's just I'm keeping my options open and I'm going to ride it out," Jerkins said. "[UNC] is still my No. 1. Like I said, I'm just keeping my options open more, but they're still my No. 1.
"When I'm there, [UNC] just feels like a family all the time. And they treat me good."
A Baker's Dozen of schools have offered Jerkins, a 6-foot, 188-pounder from Woodbridge High. That box features Louisville, Maryland, UNC, NC State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest.
"First of all, Dashaun Jerkins is a leader," Woodbridge head coach Gary Wortham said. "Right now, in the spring we have one captain on the team and he is that guy. We had a good class this [past] year, but Dashaun matured in a lot of ways -- on-the-field and off-the-field. He's a helluva football player. He takes his workouts personal, as well was his schoolwork. You have a guy who has a solid 3.9 GPA. It's real special to have a guy who you consider a freak or a dog in the game of football to have those accolades academically."
In an attempt to procure a verbal commitment, Jerkins will make numerous recruiting visits between now and the end of the football season.
"We're going to try to hit every stop that he has not been to that he has an offer from," Wortham said. "Now LSU is involved; they want him to come on campus and could offer, so we're going to figure out how to get there. We're just going to do the best we can."
Thus far this offseason, Jerkins has visited East Carolina, UNC, Penn State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
Jerkins's visit to UNC this offseason was for its late March junior day. While most of the attendees were going through the customary tours, Jerkins was pulled aside and taken to Larry Fedora's office. There, Jerkins had his most recent individual meeting with the Tar Heels' head man.
"Pretty much, he said he loves how I play and he wants me to keep up everything, and know that they still want me there, and they're still going to keep good contact with me," Jerkins said.
Preceding the actual junior day itinerary, UNC held a spring scrimmage, which the junior day attendees were permitted to attend. Jerkins, accompanied by Wortham and his Woodbridge teammates, arrived midway through that scrimmage.
"I liked the way the defense played," Jerkins said. "They're aggressive to the ball and they were hitting hard, even though it was just a scrimmage. That's how I like to play."
Jerkins has made numerous visits to UNC, including a few games and a camp. Regardless, he plans to return for Fedora's Freak Show.