James: 'I Got Pretty Close'

North Carolina's Junior Day on Saturday further strengthened Jarrod James' feelings about the Tar Heel program.

"The possibility [of committing to UNC] got stronger," James said. "I got pretty close [to committing]. The setup they had at Junior Day was just phenomenal – touring the facilities, the set up for the game, the academic support presentation, the recruit player panel they had. It was a great Junior Day."

James, a 6-foot-4, 283-pound offensive lineman from Pikeville (N.C.) Aycock, grew up a following UNC and has an older sister who is an alum. However, with scholarship offers from NC State and Stanford also on the table, he isn't ready to make a verbal commitment just yet.

"I want to explore all my options," James said. "I know who my leader is, but before I seal any deal I want to make sure that no stone goes unturned. I want to make sure that I've seen my options. Once that's done I'll be able to give a clear answer of where I want to play ball at and continue my education."

James has one more option left to explore – NC State. He plans to attend the Wolfpack's Junior Day on Feb. 21.

"After [visiting NC State], I know I'll be pretty decisive," James said.

James revealed that not only is UNC his clear cut leader, but he has narrowed his focus to UNC and NC State.

"My parents and I were talking over it," James said. "With our schedules, if they wanted to see me play it would have to be in-state.

"Plus, my thing is I want to go far enough from home where I can experience life on my own and not have to worry about them being right down the street. But, at the same time should the situation arise, I can still easily see my family, I can see spend the holidays with my family."

UNC's Junior Day lasted for much of Saturday afternoon. The entire time he was on campus, James felt like a Tar Heel.

"For a second in time, without signing a Letter of Intent or without committing, I felt like I was a part of the family," James said. "I felt like Carolina really wanted me and they put an effort to come to me. I just felt accepted. I felt like they wanted me, not just for my athletic abilities, but for who I was. They saw what I could become not just as a dominate football player, but what I could become as a man. While I was there, I felt a connection with all the coaches and everyone there."

The Junior Day festivities surrounded Saturday afternoon's UNC-NC State basketball.

"Everything is blue," James said. "Literally, everything is blue. That's crazy to know your school has so much support for you."

Ironically, Saturday's game pitted James' two finalists against each other. He admitted that he was cheering, quietly, for one of the teams. However, he wants to keep his rooting interest undisclosed.

Before the game, James had a film study session with Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach.

"He just basically went through blocking techniques," James said. "Him and I discussed football, game film, situations. Basically, he showed me film, asked me what was wrong, and I told him what was wrong with the film. Whether it be where to put my hands or how to move my feet. He showed me, of course on film, what to do in certain situations – down blocking, ankle blocking, combo blocking."

Pittman informed James that he projects him as a left guard on the collegiate level. James has exclusively played left tackle in high school.

"As long as I can put a hand in the dirt, I'm fine," James said. "A three-point stance is going to be a three-point stance. A lineman is going to be a lineman wherever you go."

James' stay also included a sneak peak at UNC's new jerseys and helmets.

"My impressions were ‘Wow, those are some sweet stuff,'" James said. "I'm not going to give out any hints of what they looked like. Whatever they show [the public], you will be surprised just like I was surprised and the other recruits were surprised."

Related Links:
* 2011 Intro: Jarrod James
* Jarrod James Profile

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