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What was your reaction when you found out you were not going to be able to play against Miami after serving your six-game NCAA suspension?
"It hurt – it did. It took a lot out of me, but with my family's support and things like that, I was able to stay strong and just wait it out and hopefully good things would happen, and they did."
Were you worried at that point that you wouldn't be coming back?
"At that time, you never knew what was going to happen. So you just went through it day-by-day, praying and just hoping good things would come out."
You were supposed to graduate in December, but now that's been pushed back to next semester, correct?
Was that a punch to the gut when you found out that news?
"No, it wasn't a punch to the gut. There were some circumstances that needed to get taken care of and they got taken care of."
What were those circumstances?
"Just needed to do some stuff with the academic thing and we got that taken care of and I'm back on the field. I'm happy everything worked out the way it worked out."
What was your reaction when you found out that you would be able to come back?
"It was exciting. Coach Davis played a little joke on me, which I didn't take too kindly of, but it worked out. It was during Tuesday's practice, so it was good to get back out there, finally get the full game plan and be out there with my defensive players."
What was the joke Davis played on you?
"He came up to me and said, ‘Sorry, but they cleared you to play.' But the only part I heard was the ‘sorry' part, so I put my head down and was like, ‘Well, it's over with for me.' And he was like, ‘No, you're cleared to play, you're able to go practice.' And I still didn't get it because I just heard the ‘sorry' part. Finally, after a while, I got it and went over there and practiced."
Are you going to take one class in the spring?
"Well, I'm going to take it whenever I get some time to take it, because it's going to be a busy offseason for me come January and February. We're definitely going to come back and get that degree because that's what I promised my mom and that's what I promised myself."
But it's just one class?
"It's just one class."
Did you think the NCAA was fair in giving you a six-game suspension?
"I think everything was fair. We made mistakes that had to be dealt with. They did their job and now it's time for us to get back out there and do ours. They gave us the chance to go back out there and play again, so we've got to take advantage of that opportunity and we're going to have fun with it."
When the news broke back in the summer, were you concerned that you might not be able to play the entire season?
"During that process, you never knew when your last day could be in this building. Like I said, you just pray every day that everything will work out. The NCAA gave me a second chance and that's all I can ask for and I'm just thankful for the opportunity."
Were you surprised when the NCAA deemed Chris Hawkins to be an agent?
"I wasn't surprised by any of the actions that took place by the NCAA. They've got a job to do and they've got to do it… We just had to take the good with the bad and we had to go with it."
Did Chris ever try to steer you towards an agent or give you anything?
"No, it was never nothing like that. It was a friendship that led into some allegations that never happened, but we're still friends. We've just got to stay our distance from each other, but like I said, during that whole process, it was all a friendship."
You knew Chris before you got to UNC, right?
He's from your neck of the woods basically?
"He's from the Kinston (N.C.) area, from around my hometown area."
Did Chris ever apologize to you for anything?
"There were no apologies, never anything like that. It was just a friendship. Things came up, things happened. But like I said, you've just got to take the good with the bad and you've got to move on."