Lipford, a 6-foot-3, 201-pound linebacker from Lenoir (N.C.) Hibriten, verbally committed to Duke over a year ago. Since then, though, several schools have extended scholarship offers, including UNC a couple of months back.
"[I'm] looking at some schools that came in a little bit later that I had a lot of interest in before they had offered me," Lipford said. "Now that they've offered, I'm taking it a lot more seriously, trying to get to know the coaching staff and the players. I'm pretty much trying to see which school I feel the most comfortable at. I don't want to go somewhere and have regrets about another school. I just want to make sure I'm ‘all in.'"
Lipford said he won't official de-commit, but if he eventually believes another school is a better fit, he'll just switch his commitment.
Before finalizing his recruitment, Lipford plans to take all five of his official visits. He has already scheduled an official trip to Duke for Dec. 6 and is working on a mid-January official visit to UNC. Clemson, South Carolina, and Virginia will likely receive his remaining official slots.
Duke and UNC, says Lipford, are his clear top two schools.
"Both schools are on the rise, I feel comfortable with their coaches, and can offer me a good education," Lipford said.
Saturday provided Lipford a unique opportunity to watch his top two schools compete against each other.
"I really just looked at how the two teams have improved over the past two years and looking at how they got after it against one another," Lipford said. "Pretty much, I just enjoyed myself and watched the game. It was pretty good on both sides of the ball for both teams. Carolina's defense showed why they're ranked in the top ten."
Lipford revealed that the actual game's outcome meant little to him.
"I mainly look at the linebackers," Lipford said. "Mainly, [I focus on] weak-side blitzes – that's mainly what they've been looking at me at: a weak-side blitzing guy. I see how they have different guys come off the edge."
Following the game, Lipford conversed at length with UNC assistant coach Allen Mogridge, his primary recruiter, in the locker room.
"He pretty much was just telling me how I was a good fit for Carolina and my personality really fit the system real well," Lipford said. "He talked about the opportunities I would have."
To get a better feel for the area, Lipford arrived in Chapel Hill a couple of hours before kickoff and booked a hotel Saturday night.
"A teammate and I pretty much were hanging around and went down on Franklin Street [Saturday night]," Lipford said. "We hung out down there and had a good time. We met up with some of my old classmates that are at Carolina now."