"I was really excited about it, because they have a good program. Coach [Butch] Davis is from the NFL. They're definitely heading in the right direction – they had a great year last year. As far as the NFL prospects go, Coach Davis put numerous guys in the NFL – that's actually what Coach Mogridge and I talked about on the phone. I've been to North Carolina, not the campus but in general, and the overall atmosphere down there is really nice – the people were nice and so was the weather."
Over the course of the last month, Haplea and Mogridge have had several phone conversations. Last week the two spoke twice before Mogridge's visit, where Mogridge briefed Haplea on the prospects of a UNC offer.
"He told me the last part of their evaluation is going to be just getting to see me and talk to my coaches," Haplea said. "After that, he said that there was a pretty good chance I was going to be getting an offer from them – and that's what happened."
Haplea, a 6-foot-4, 226-pound tight end from Annandale (N.J.) North Hunterdon, has received 17 scholarship offers. Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma, and Penn State highlight his list of grants.
All of Haplea's scholarship offers are for tight end, except for one. Temple is recruiting him as a defensive end.
Specifically in UNC's two-tight end offensive system, Mogridge can envision Haplea playing either H-back or tight end.
"I guess he can see me as a guy who he can split out wide one play, and then the next play have my hand on the ground on the line-of-scrimmage, and then on the next play being in the backfield," Haplea said.
For North Hunterdon, Haplea has started at both tight end and defensive end since his sophomore season. In two seasons, he has made 33 catches for 381 yards and four touchdowns in a run-heavy offense.
"This past year especially, when we are passing, I was the main target," Haplea said. "They split me out a lot to try to get me the ball. If [the quarterback] is under center, we'll go play-action and they'll have me hang over the middle or run an over route."
As a freshman, Haplea started at several positions – quarterback, a hybrid outside linebacker/safety, and wide receiver.
Haplea isn't prepared to establish a favorites list. However, he should be ready to narrow his choices down sometime this summer.
"I have a good feel for a lot of schools already, which is good, but I don't have a feel for all of them," Haplea said. "Once I make my trips early in the summer I'll be able to put together a top list [of schools]."
Haplea has an early-summer trip scheduled to the state of Florida, where he'll visit Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Although no plans have been made, he figures to also visit Clemson and UNC this summer.
Haplea has already visited Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, and West Virginia.
While he isn't exactly sure when he'll make a verbal commitment, Haplea says he could make a decision as early as the end of the summer.
"I'm pretty much just looking for a university and college as a whole," Haplea said. "Not just football, but with the academics, the campus, the area, the people there – the people is pretty big for me."
Proximity will only play a slight role in Haplea's collegiate decision.
"If I really feel like a place [and it] is a place for me [and] is where I should be, then distance won't matter," Haplea said.