Patton Robinette made up his mind Saturday night.
He made it up again, for the final time, Sunday afternoon.
After declaring at 11:01 p.m. Saturday by text message that he had backed his commitment to the University of North Carolina, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound quarterback from Maryville High School left school orientation Sunday in Chapel Hill and opted to mid-term enroll instead at Vanderbilt.
"It's a great school," Robinette said of UNC. "But my heart's been set on Nashville for a while now. I think it's just where I need to be."
Classes begin Monday at Vanderbilt. Robinette will leave for Nashville early Monday morning. The North Carolina coaching staff was very understanding, he said.
"You have no idea. It was very, very difficult," he said of the decision. "I was going through orientation. It didn't feel right for me. Everybody there's unbelievably great. They were all great to me.
"But my heart wasn't in it. I think I've known that for a while. I want to be at Vanderbilt."
Since he didn't sign any letter of intent or attend any classes, Robinette will face no eligibility concerns.
The dual-threat quarterback and the 2011 Gatorade State Player of the Year committed to North Carolina in mid-June, but that was to former coach Butch Davis. Robinette remained committed — even after Davis was fired in late July in the wake of an NCAA investigation — yet explored his options in the fall and early part of December.
He visited Vanderbilt midway through the high school season. Two weeks after he led Maryville (15-0) to a second consecutive Class 6A state championship on Dec. 3, Robinette visited Iowa, the latecomer to his recruitment.
A Class AAA Mr. Football Back finalist and Elite 11 Quarterback Camp invitee, Robinette had to wait until Wednesday to meet new North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, who was hired Dec. 8 from Southern Miss.
He welcomed coaches from
Iowa and Vanderbilt on Thursday. Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, offensive coordinator John Donovan, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne all made the trip to Maryville.
Robinette expected to have his decision done Friday, given his desire to mid-term enroll. But no announcement came that day, and Robinette hopped over to North Carolina on Saturday.
"I just wanted to go and see it again," he said.
Robinette met with Fedora and his assistant coaches and even took in the North Carolina men's basketball game with Boston College. Ultimately, his heart won out.
"It was just a gradual thing, all through the day (Sunday)," he said. "I've been leaning toward Vanderbilt for a long time. It was my first (major) offer. My parents really liked North Carolina, and I liked North Carolina, too. I just feel like I need to be at Vanderbilt.
"It's a program on the rise. Great things in Nashville. School is great. The school is probably the best school in the South, if not the best school in the South. It has everything I want in a school."
Robinette is the quintessential student-athlete.
He earned a 4.5 grade-point average at Maryville and scored a perfect 36 on his ACT.
He plans to be a pre-med major at Vanderbilt.
As far as his on-field competition, Robinette enters into a depth chart that includes returning starter Jordan Rodgers, who'll be a redshirt senior, and Wyoming transfer Austyn Carta-Samuels, who will be a junior.
Rodgers led Vanderbilt to a bowl game this season. Carta-Samuels was a two-year starter at Wyoming and the 2009 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year.
Robinette didn't get a chance to call Vanderbilt's coaches late Saturday night to give them the North Carolina news.
The call they received Sunday was more to their liking anyway.
Said Robinette: "They were excited."
Jesse Smithey is preps editor. You can contact him at 865-342-6290 or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/prepxtra