The 6-foot-8, 280-pound four-star offensive tackle from Washington (D.C.) Ballou committed to UNC over scholarship offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Illinois, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Southern Cal, among others.
Why did you decide to pick UNC?
"I liked the coaches – they treated me like I was their son. They treated me like I was already one of them when I went down there for junior day. I just liked how they treated me. I love the staff. And they were just really excited to get me down there. I just figured I could make everybody happy, including myself, by committing."
What affect did Sam Pittman have on your decision?
"He affected it a lot. He talked to me or wrote me everyday. He's a funny coach – like he told me when he checked his voicemail [and heard my message] that he did three back flips, a somersault, and a front flip. Things like that keep me smiling and made me fall in love with North Carolina when he wrote me. I just wanted to make him happy like he makes me happy and commit."
What about Ballou alum Marvin Austin?
"When I went down there for their junior day, he was just showing me a lot of intensity in practice. He said ‘This could be you.' I took those words and I closed my eyes and envisioned myself there wearing the Carolina Blue and white."
Austin played football with your brother and is from your area. When he returned home for breaks, what were those conversations like?
"He was really telling me ‘I don't want to pressure you to go here, but if you do it's going to be the best time of your life. But if you don't see yourself here, I understand. Pick what school is best for you.'
"I took those words and felt North Carolina was the school for me."
Heading into the spring, you made it clear that UNC was your leader. But a couple of months later, Auburn reportedly took the lead, until UNC gained it back recently. What happened to allow Auburn to take the lead and then for UNC to regain it?
"Auburn was talking to me on Facebook and I was keeping in touch with them. They were telling me how they really wanted me. I was thinking about it, but I didn't really get a chance to go down there and get a feel for it.
"So I just went back to my first instinct, which was North Carolina. When I went down there, I had the feel for it. So I just figured I'd stick with North Carolina. It's closer to home [than Auburn] and it's a good school for me. I can see myself there for four years, earning my degree, and possibly go into the NFL."
Do you plan on continuing to visit other schools?
Why did you decide to commit now?
"I committed now because I wanted to go through my strength and conditioning without having that on my head and not focusing all the way. So I just feel as though if I get this big thing off now, I can focus more on being there for my team."
When did you make the decision to actually commit?
"I made it Monday morning like around 10 or 11. I talked to my coach, Coach ‘Mo' [Moses Ware]. I called him and told him I was ready. He asked me what school was it down to and I told him. After that, it just got out there."
It took a little while to inform UNC of your intentions and officially commit …
"Yeah, I didn't talk to Coach Pittman until this morning.
"It was no problem, but I probably should have talked to them first before anything. I was just real excited to commit and get down there. And I know how much they really love me."
Was it stressful having to wait almost a day and even sleep on it?
"No, because I knew I was going to talk to the coaches today. If I didn't get up with Coach Pittman, I was going to call Coach [Butch] Davis at 10 a.m. sharp. It was no big deal."
When you did actually talk to Pittman, outside of his back flips, what did he say?
"He told me he is going to take care of me and he's going to make me into a monster. I told him that I'd like to be turned into a monster and take this thing to the next level. He said I need to get down there so that I can sit and talk with him and meet more of the players."
Do you have any plans to visit UNC again soon?
"No, I don't. I'll probably be up there for a game."
What's the game plan once you arrive in Chapel Hill?
"[I'll be playing] left tackle. I'm bound to do whatever it takes to get on the field and just work hard. They know I'm a hard worker. I work hard everyday to show I belong on the field."
Jamar Lewter Profile
Jamar Lewter called the UNC coaching staff on Tuesday morning to give them his commitment. Minutes later, he spoke to InsideCarolina.com about his decision.
D.C. offensive lineman spoke to the UNC staff on Tuesday morning.