T.C. Williams linebacker Malik Carney (28) will play for North Carolina. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Cruz)

T.C. Williams linebacker Malik Carney left the state of Virginia, to vacation in Ocean City, Md., where he decided to commit to the University of North Carolina.

So the final hours of Carney’s college thought process had a distinct if meandering mid-Atlantic feel to them. Getting away from Alexandria with some teammates and parents might have given Carney a clearer perspective on his choices, which he had narrowed down to UNC or Tennessee.

On Saturday morning, sleep eluding him, he was staring at the wall in the living room of a beach house, listening to Wale, waiting for his housemates to wake up when a sensation came over him.

“It just hit me that UNC is my school,” Carney said. “It was very close. I was going back and forth on the decision until it just hit me Saturday morning that UNC was the right choice.”

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Carney becomes the second T.C. player within a week to commit to UNC. Defensive lineman Jeremiah Clarke also pledged to the Tar Heels. Both are rising seniors.

“We weren’t looking to go to the same school,” Carney said. “I thought we’d go two different places. I just think it would be the best fit for me.”

Schools began recruiting Carney in large part because of their initial interest in Clarke, so it is interesting that they landed in the same spot. Carney appreciated the effort that the UNC coaches had put into recruiting him.

“The assistants let me know how bad they wanted me and how I’d fit into their program,” Carney said. “I already knew they wanted me, but the communication continued.”