MATTHEWS, N.C. --- North Carolina defensive back coach Terry Joseph dispensed a scholarship offer to Bryson Richardson late last month.
"We've been in contact for a while; ever since he got to UNC, we've been talking," Richardson said. "But, he called me -- I think it was on a Monday. First he told me he was going to be up at our school. Then, he told me I have an offer from UNC.
"He told me they're taking three or four more DBs this year and he wants me to join the squad."
For national football power Buford (Ga.) High, Richardson, a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder, starts at free safety. But, he's being recruited as a "hybrid" defensive back by Joseph, according to Richardson.
"He knows my versatility," Richardson said. "He feels like he can use me anywhere on the field -- whether it's safety, nickel, corner."
UNC has establish somewhat of a pipeline with Buford High. Going back to the 2012 class, Nathan Staub flowed to Chapel Hill. Mikey Bart and Nick Polino followed in the 2013 and 2015 classes, respectively.
Richardson knows Polino, a sophomore guard on UNC's offensive line.
"When he was a senior, I was a freshman," Richardson said. "But, he always looked out for all of us. He was a great player up there at Buford. He's just a great person. Every time I see him, he's always saying 'Hi' to me and my mom. He's just a great guy."
During the summer heading into his sophomore year, Richardson camped at UNC. That was his only visit to the school. Thus, he's eager for a return and will do so next month for Fedora's Freak Show.
"I want to get up there and talk to Coach Joseph more and talk to Coach [Larry] Fedora, too," Richardson said. "I love the campus -- I love everything about it. It's a great place to be."
From October to January, Richardson was a member of Tennessee's commitment list.
"It was just a little bit personal stuff and then also I just really wanted to be more patient with this recruiting because it does a lot to you," Richardson said of his de-commitment. "You have to take your time and visit all your schools. Tennessee is a great place, but I really wanted to explore my options more."
Richardson has roughly two dozen options, including offers from Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi State, NC State, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and of course UNC.
With a new lease on his recruiting life, Richardson will approach his college decision more systematically. He plans to narrow his focus to a manageable number of schools shortly after spring ball. Then, he'll make a verbal commitment in late June/early July.
Richardson says UNC's chances of making the initial cut are high.
"Everything about them it feels like it fits me," Richardson said. "It's a great place to be up there. I feel comfortable up there. I can see myself spending four years up there, as far as football and with academics."