"Well, this decision was based over a period of time. There was a lot of discussion with my family and some of my past coaches to make sure I made the right one, but we finally came to the point that I just want to compete and I want to play, first and foremost. I felt like in order for me to do that and in order to give myself the best opportunity to do that, that we felt that it was best for me to go ahead and graduate in May and then go play somewhere else next year."
Did the decision to start T.J. Yates against N.C. State play a role into this decision?
"To say it didn't factor in – that wouldn't be correct. But that was just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle. That wasn't the deciding factor, by any means, no."
Did the coaches tell you that you wouldn't be able to compete for the starting position? Did it come down to that?
"No, it did not come down to that. They said there would be competition for the starting position but I felt like, based on the way things have gone, that maybe it was still best for me to go and compete somewhere else."
Do you have any regrets in staying at UNC as long as you did?
"Absolutely not. No regrets whatsoever."
Is it correct that you hosted a high-profile recruit on an official visit last weekend?
Given that you were considering leaving the program, what was your thought process in doing that?
"First and foremost, no matter what has happened to me throughout my career, that doesn't reflect on my love for the University of North Carolina. I love this place. I love my teammates. There would be no way that I would do anything to hurt this university and this football program.
"I did the best I could hosting the kid this weekend, and I showed him the best time that I could and I told him everything that was great about this university and this football program because I feel like there are a lot of great things that are going on here. Do I agree with every decision that got made, based on my career? No. But that's life. That's the way things go. I understand that. But I would never do anything to hurt Carolina."
How satisfying is it for you to know that you played such a big role in this team's success this year?
"It was great. This year was probably the best year of my life, so far. Being able to go out and finally achieve some of the things that I set out to achieve and to play well – especially to be able to play well at home a couple of times in front of our fans. All of the hard work paid off this year. We enjoyed a lot of success together as a team. This year was really special to me and a lot of those moments I'll never forget for the rest of my life."
Do you have any idea what schools you may consider transferring to?
"None, whatsoever. I've not started that process yet."
What will your degree be in?
What will be the process in finding another school?
"The NCAA states that I'd have to give up two years of eligibility to go down and play Div I-AA football, so in my case, I'll have to go and play Division II. That process will be – basically, I'll start researching the schools and my high school coach will be working on that, as well as my family. Coach [Butch] Davis and coach [John] Shoop have made it very clear that they want to be a big part of this process to help me find the right school.
"So basically, I'm open to any options, whatsoever. I want to go play at a place that I feel is going to help me continue to hone my skills and get better as football player to achieve my goals of moving on in football past the collegiate level."
Is this a bittersweet moment?
"I feel great about it, but because I'm moving on to another chapter of my life, it's absolutely bittersweet. I love Carolina and I would love to be here. I really do love this place – I just can't say it enough. So it is absolutely very difficult to go, but I know this something that I have to do. It's going to be good for me."
What was Coach Davis' reaction when you did tell him the news?
"He wanted to make sure that I understood that he wanted me to come back and that they wanted me to be here. He also was very understanding of the situation, and was understanding of my decision. One thing I was really happy with was how much he wanted to be involved in my next decision, and he made it very clear that he wanted me – for the rest of my life – to be involved with the University of North Carolina's football program, so I really appreciated that."