Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast outside linebacker Joseph Jackson ended his seven month courtship with West Virginia on Wednesday evening.
"I decommitted from West Virginia," Jackson said.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound defender recently took an official visit to North Carolina, and that played a part in his decision. Also, the recent news of West Virginia departing the Big East also played a role.
"Really, my official visit to North Carolina gave me a lot to think about and was a big part of it," Jackson said. "Also I just don't think West Virginia is the right place for me right now. The move to the Big 12, it provides great competition but it won't provide many opportunities for my parents and family to see me like they would have in the Big East. That was just tough for me. There are a lot of colleges closer to home."
For the three-star prospect, the toughest part of his change of heart was telling his primary recruiter with the Mountaineers.
"Telling Coach (Robert) Gillespie was probably the hardest part," Jackson said. "It crushed me to have to tell him. He has devoted so much time and effort. We have become so close during this process. He is a great person and he treated me so well. I know he cared about me and that was the hardest part having to tell him I wasn't going there."
Jackson hasn't completely shut the door on West Virginia, but definitely makes it seem unlikely he signs with them come February.
"I won't ever say a school is out of it 100%, but I don't think that is going to be the place for me," Jackson said.
At this point, the leader in the clubhouse is the North Carolina Tar Heels.
"I would say North Carolina is the number one contender for me right now," Jackson said. "Other schools such as Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina and others are also in the picture. I haven't really scheduled any other visits yet though."
Jackson talked about his growing affinity for the ACC program that is in the lead for his services.
"There were factors outside of the visit to UNC visit that led to my decommitment, but the UNC visit was really good and definitely had an impact on it too," Jackson said. "I liked the academics, the football team, the great facilities at UNC. I like that they would provide an opportunity for my family to see me more often in games."
At this time, Jackson doesn't have a specific timeline for when he may reach his finial decision.
"Like I said UNC is my number one contender, and I feel strongly about them," Jackson said. "I couldn't give a definite time for when I may make a decision, but don't be surprised if it is UNC at the end."