James, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound offensive lineman from Pikeville (N.C.) Aycock, selected UNC over scholarship offers from East Carolina, Florida State, NC State, South Carolina, and Stanford.
"I won't say it was an easy decision, but it's a decision that I was comfortable with," James said. "I just connected with the school. I vibed with the coaches. I feel like it's the place for me. It's close enough so my parents can see me play and it offers a great education."
James had been leaning towards UNC ever since he received a scholarship offer from the school. Attending the Tar Heels' February Junior Day strengthened those feelings, while Saturday's spring practice sealed the deal.
"I just enjoyed it," James said. "I enjoyed the intensity.
"First off, I told my dad that I wanted to come here. And then I told Coach [Sam] Pittman. From there it spread like wildfire.
"I'm not going to say I planned on [committing]. It was just one of those things that just happened. It just felt right."
James says his commitment to UNC is "pretty strong," but he's unsure if he's finished visiting other schools.
UNC is recruiting James as an offensive guard.
Another in-state recruit, Eric Ebron, verbally committed to UNC on Thursday.