Brooklyn (N.Y.) ASA College defensive tackle Gilbert Pena took his first official visit of the recruiting process over the weekend and he was blown away by what he experienced.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound junior college lineman took an official visit to North Carolina, a school that has offered him a scholarship, and he spoke with Rivals.com about how his trip went shortly after returning home on Sunday.
"I just got back home today," Pena said. "The trip was awesome. Chapel Hill is a gorgeous place. It was amazing.
"Everybody had told me it was amazing and I had heard it was nice. It was pretty much what everybody was telling me it was gonna be. It was real nice, a fun place. The campus is huge."
Talking to members of the coaching staff was a highlight of the trip for Pena, and it gave him an opportunity to see the inner workings of the program that he has grown so fond of in recent weeks.
"I actually got a chance to speak with coach (Butch) Davis himself," he explained. "He's just himself. He's not how people might portray him. You can sit there and talk to him about anything. He jokes around and has a real good sense of humor.
"I talked to coach (Art) Kaufman a lot, too. I found out a lot about the program."
When asked whether he was tempted to make a verbal commitment to the program while he was in town Pena didn't exactly issue a denial.
"The atmosphere was kind of cool, I'm not going to lie," he said. "The atmosphere was amazing. The people in town were all about UNC football. They are standing out right now but I would like to give other schools a shot.
"I'm supposed to visit Ole Miss on December 4. I'm not even sure what's going to happen but since I've never done this before I would like to experience everything and see what all these schools have to offer."
In addition to offers from Ole Miss, North Carolina and Miami-OH, Pena said he has been hearing quite a bit from Oklahoma, South Florida and Rutgers, though he isn't sure just how interested those schools are.