Whitaker Planning Return to UNC

After spending the last several months focusing almost exclusively on training, Jeff Whitaker has begun to consider unofficial visits.

"I want to check out games at Tennessee, Auburn, [and] North Carolina," Whitaker said. "I'll probably check out a few more.

"I know I'm going to be going to the West Virginia game [at Auburn on Sept. 19]."

Last fall, Whitaker, a 6-foot-3, 296-pound defensive tackle from Warner Robins (Ga.), attended the UNC-NC State game in Chapel Hill and the Georgia-Alabama game in Athens.

Since last fall, Whitaker's only recruiting visit occurred this past Saturday when he visited Auburn.

Whitaker doesn't plan to start taking his official visits until after his senior football season. During the season, though, he'll begin to decide which schools will receive an official trip.

"It's probably going to be colleges I just can't get to on my own any weekend – like California," Whitaker said of official visits. "It's not like I can wake up in the morning and say ‘Ok, let's go to California.'"

Although he doesn't have a favorites list, a few schools have grabbed Whitaker's interest including Auburn, California, Georgia, UNC, Oregon, and Tennessee.

"I guess you could say those are the schools that are showing me the most interest and talk to me," Whitaker said.

Whitaker, who is looking to make a verbal commitment in January or February, doesn't believe he'll announce a favorites list before deciding.

"I don't think it's ever going to get to that point," Whitaker said. "I think I'm going to say where I'm going to go and leave it at that."

During the spring, Whitaker said he developed a strong relationship with John Blake, UNC's defensive line coach. However, the two haven't spoken this summer since Whitaker has been focused on training. Whitaker said he plans to call Blake this week.

"It's been like that for a lot of people, though," Whitaker said of the lack of communication with Blake.

Through his nearly four months of training, Whitaker has knocked 30 pounds off of his frame.

"I feel a lot different [during drills] – that's the big thing," Whitaker said.

Whitaker will try out his new body in roughly two weeks. He and his teammates begin preseason camp next Friday.

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