UNC Right for Bernard

Less than a week after officially visiting, Giovanni Bernard verbally committed to North Carolina. The 5-foot-9, 192-pound tailback from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Aquinas talked to InsideCarolina.com about his decision ...

"I committed to North Carolina probably an hour ago," Bernard said Thursday evening. "I talked to Coach [John] Blake and Coach [Ken] Browning. I haven't had a chance to talk to Coach [Butch] Davis, because he's going to call me later on tonight."

Bernard verbally committed to Notre Dame in late October. However, the Fighting Irish fell out of favor when Charlie Weis was fired. He officially eliminated Notre Dame and narrowed his choices to UNC and Oregon State Sunday evening.

"Really it was just something that I had in my head and I was just like '[UNC] is right for me,'" Bernard said. "I know my whole brother affiliation with [Oregon State]. [Oregon State] is a great school and it has everything you can ask for, but it just wasn't right for me."

Academics, the family oriented environment, and the coaching staff were the attributes that made UNC right for Bernard.

"That's all I asked for," Bernard said. "I don't really care about the facilities – that's not a big deal. I don't really care about if they'll finish off the season with a national championship ring or not. As long as [the school] is right for me."

Bernard used his final official visit slot this past weekend on UNC. Earlier in the process he took official trips to Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon State, and Tennessee.

"[The UNC official visit] wasn't the factor that made me commit or made me want to commit," Bernard said. "I just wanted to see the place for myself – because I heard great things about it – and get a feel for the players. It was a good experience."

Blake and Browning, both of whom recruited Bernard, were unsurprisingly thrilled by Bernard's commitment.

"They were just like ‘Get ready, get your rehab in, and get to know our faces because we're going to be around each other for the next four-five years,'" Bernard said. "They said ‘Get ready to have a good time and experience.' That's what I'm really looking for in a college: to have a good time and hopefully to make it to the NFL."

Bernard highlighted Blake as playing a key role in his recruitment.

"The first thing he really did was made me feel comfortable," Bernard said of the UNC recruiting coordinator. "There was a lot of uncertainty [with the Notre Dame situation]. I knew he would stick by me and be there for me.

"He didn't talk football too much. He really told me about the school and how it could benefit me."

Bernard is currently in rehab for a hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener of his senior football season.

He rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries (9.8-yard average) in that season opener, but the aforementioned hamstring injury forced him to miss eight full games and only see limited action in five others. In barely six games, he accumulated 192 yards and two touchdowns on 40 carries (4.8-yard average).

As a junior, though, Bernard carried the ball 144 times for 1,371 yards (9.5-yard average) and 16 touchdowns.

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