Bell Blown Away by UNC Visit

Hawatha Bell finally made his anticipated unofficial visit to North Carolina over the weekend.

"Basically the visit just blew me away," Bell said. "I thought [South Carolina] had what I was looking for, but UNC just showed me that they had more to offer."

Despite the strong impressions, Bell said he is nowhere near ready to make a verbal commitment.

"I'm still going to look at other schools to see what they have to offer, but I'll always keep in mind UNC," Bell said.

Bell, who has claimed to be open for several months, says he now has a leader but won't reveal the identity.

"I'm not going to say," Bell said. "It's a surprise."

Bell's favorites list currently consists of Illinois, Michigan, UNC, and South Carolina. Virginia Tech, which was considered a strong contender at one point, has dropped out of the race.

"I heard [Virginia Tech] stopped recruiting me," Bell said.

The focus now for Bell is scheduling official visits to all four favorite schools.

"I texted Coach [Mike] Newsome today and he said we were going to sit down and set the visits up sometime this week," Bell said.

All four trips will be scheduled during the football season. Bell plans to make a verbal commitment shortly after the fourth and final visit.

"Basically, [I want to] just go ahead and get it over with," Bell said. "[I want to] go ahead and get it out of the way so I can be ready for Signing Day. I don't want to waste any time. I don't want to be like Terrelle Pryor and keep on waiting and waiting trying to figure out what I want to do."

Bell would also like to soak in the game day atmosphere of each school.

Although he had talked about visiting UNC since the spring, Bell hadn't been able to find the time. However, late last week -- when his cousin Josh Hunter was offered a scholarship by UNC and invited to visit -- Bell and Hunter decided to make the trip together.

"They asked him to come up to the scrimmage and me as well," Bell said. "We didn't make the scrimmage; we just got their in time for [Meet the Tar Heels]."

Bell arrived in Chapel Hill on Saturday evening, spent the night, and left Sunday afternoon.

"[I got to] take a look at the campus [and] what they plan on doing with the stadium, meet all the players [and] hang out with them, [and] eat," Bell said. "[Sunday] we got a full tour of the campus."

While he spent a great deal of time with the entire coaching staff, Bell's stay was monopolized by Tommy Thigpen and John Blake.

"Basically, they were telling me to come to UNC and play for their team," Bell said.

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