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Insider

QB looking around, but still a Tar Heel

Patton Robinette isn't waiting idly by as the chaos surrounding North Carolina's football program continues to simmer and swirl.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback from Maryville (Tenn.) High School has taken the responsibility upon himself to make sure he has a solid collegiate option if the Tar Heels' troubles with the NCAA don't dissipate.

Robinette, who committed to North Carolina in June, reached out to Stanford's coaching staff a month ago to see if the Cardinal had any interest in him. He then took an unofficial visit there last weekend.

“It was a great trip,” Robinette said. “It was everything I thought it would be. It's a beautiful place. Their academic record speaks for itself. Their football record speaks for itself.”

But before the young man heads west for good, Robinette maintained he still plans on playing his football in Chapel Hill.

“I'm definetely still a North Carolina commitment as of right now,” he said.

For just how long is clouded in the uncertain haze of an NCAA investigation that will take its next significant step on Oct. 29. That's when the Tar Heels will plead their case in front of the NCAA Committee of Infractions.

A harsh ruling could prompt Robinette and other North Carolina commitments to pursue other collegiate options, but it may not even take that. Simply a delayed response would bring continued uncertainty for those hoping to sign with North Carolina in February or, in Robinette's case, enroll as a midterm student in January.

“It is a concern but at the end of the day, North Carolina is still a great place,” Robinette said. “They have great people. It's one of the best institutions in the United States.”

Robinette said he just wants to have “all of his bases covered” and therefore is considering visits to Vanderbilt and Arkansas -- and possibly a return trip to Stanford. Robinette said an official visit back to Stanford has been discussed but no firm plans are in place. Stanford declined to offer Robinette a scholarship over the weekend but that is still a possibility.

After committing to North Carolina, Robinette mostly shut down his recruitment from other schools. That, he said, likely hurt his college stock because other schools considered him off the market and he stopped attending summer camps. But don't think Robinette is complaining about the situation.

“I don't regret committing at all,” he said of his somewhat early decision to be a Tar Heel.

Robinette still holds scholarship offers from Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern and Vanderbilt, which may be the most intriguing possibility.

Vandy's campus is less than a three-hour drive from Maryville, has the academic reputation that Robinette is looking for and an opportunity to play in the SEC for a potentially up-and-coming program in a metropolitan city.

Robinette, however, isn't getting to far ahead of himself on such speculation.

“I think Vanderbilt is a great school, but I'm still a North Carolina commitment,” he said.