Collins, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman from Kernersville (N.C.) East Forsyth, chose UNC over a scholarship offer from East Carolina and strong interest from several ACC and SEC schools.
"I just felt right at home and it just felt right," Collins said. "I know everybody says that, but it truly does feel right at Chapel Hill.
"The atmosphere they brought to the ball game and to the practice is phenomenal. They love the game. The coaches aren't teaching like it's a business, they're teaching them to have fun.
"The coaches have been straightforward with me throughout the whole process."
Although rumors began to circulate recently that Collins was contemplating a commitment to UNC, he says his feelings didn't begin to solidify until the ride to Chapel Hill.
"Last night I wasn't too sure about anything and I was just thinking about it – it was on my mind all day," Collins said. "On the way down [to UNC] my whole family was in the car so we started expressing our feelings about everything. Pretty much every road trip we went down talking about we always ended up at Carolina. But there wasn't any decision made."
Thursday's practice, however, sealed the deal.
"We watched how Coach [Butch] Davis conducted his practices," Collins said. "He's the only head coach I've actually seen get into it and want to be apart of the team it seems like. All the other schools I've been to the head coach is more laid back and didn't want to get involved – didn't want to basically get their hands dirty. Davis was in there helping everybody out – being a true coach."
After collecting 26 pancake blocks his sophomore season, Collins recorded 56 pancake blocks and allowed only one sack his junior campaign. He has set his goals even higher for his senior season.
* For Inside Carolina's on-location feature story on David Collins, plus junior season video, CLICK HERE.