Leifheit: 'This Weekend Won Me Over'

After considering more than 30 scholarship offers, four-star offensive tackle T.J. Leifheit opted to become a Tar Heel. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound prospect from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard talked with Inside Carolina about his decision ...

How does it feel to be committed?

"It feels great."

Some recruits enjoy the pressure, while others say the process wears on them. What was it for you?

"It was a combination of both. It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of stress."

Heading into the official visit, did you plan on verbally committing or think there was a possibility that you might commit?

"I had no idea I was going to do it this weekend."

So what was it that pushed you to the point of committing?

"The trip. I had my whole family up there and all the coaches made us feel like we were at home. I just really enjoyed [the trip] a lot."

You had an impressive list of scholarship offers – what about UNC stood out?

"It was just the outstanding relationship I had with Coach [Sam] Pittman and the possibility of coming in and having the chance to earn some playing time as a freshman. And Coach [Butch] Davis really made me feel at home there."

How much did the offensive line depth impact your decision?


Pittman, Leifheit, Davis
(Photo provided by Leifheit Family)
"It had a little bit to do with it, but regardless I know no matter where I go I'll have to earn playing time."

You're going to enroll in January. Has Pittman or Davis talked about the game plan for you?

"They talked about me coming in and competing for the left tackle spot; that's what they told me this weekend. And I have a really good shot to get on the field as a freshman – if it's not at left tackle somewhere else just to get me on the field as soon as possible."

It's been rumored that you've been leaning towards UNC since as early as the spring. Is there any truth to any of those rumors?

"I've always told them that I liked them, but I never really said I was leaning there or was thinking about committing."

I know you've never publicly named at leader, but was there any point in the process where you felt like UNC was your leader?

"This weekend. This weekend won me over."

After the Tennessee visit, it seemed like you were leaning towards the Volunteers. How did that visit affect your recruitment?

"After the Tennessee visit, it was pretty much between North Carolina and Tennessee and at that point Tennessee had the edge. I guess you could say they were my leader at that point."

How firm is this commitment? Are you going to visit any other schools, officially or unofficially?

"No I'm done. This is 100-percent solid."

With your UNC official visit, who hosted you over the weekend?

"Jonathan Cooper [former Hoggard teammate and fellow offensive lineman]."

What did you and Cooper do?

"We just hung out. We talked about me and him possibly playing again together on the O-line. We just went around campus."

You've been to UNC a bunch of times. Was there anything you were able to do or learn that you hadn't on previous visits?

"Like you said, I've been up there so many times I was extremely familiar with the campus and the coaches. But the thing I got to do this time that I hadn't had the real opportunity to do was get a chance to spend time with other players outside of ‘Coop' and Casey [Barth].

"I hung out with offensive lineman, running backs, quarterbacks – pretty much everybody. We hung out - outside of football and during practice - Sunday. I got to talk to a lot of players after the game."

How did the verbal commitment actually go down?

"I had decided that I was just going to commit early Sunday, probably mid-morning. I went into his office that afternoon. I was just listening to what he had to say and at the right moment, I let him know."

What was his reaction?

"At first, they were a little shocked, because they didn't think I was going to commit so soon. But afterwards they were excited – they were all yelling and hootin' and hollerin'."

T.J. Leifheit Profile


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