Head coach Butch Davis confirmed on Thursday that freshman defensive tackle Brandon Willis will be transferring from the University of North Carolina. He will instead be attending UCLA.
Willis, a native of Duncan (S.C.), played for gridiron powerhouse Byrnes High School, winning a pair of state titles in 2007 and 2008.
UNC had won a heated recruiting battle for Willis, beating out the likes of Tennessee and Florida State, among many others.
Willis actually committed to all three of those schools over the course of his recruitment.
UCLA was also a finalist for his services, but Willis's departure seems to be based partly on the decision by his father to move across country to the state of California, along with the fact that his mother recently passed away.
"The unfortunate thing (for us) is that he (Willis's father) found a job in Southern California and that he really is adamant about trying to keep his family together," said Davis. "He's asked both of his sons to join him in moving out there."
"It's a sad situation because, maybe for those of you that didn't know, Brandon lost his mother," Davis continued.
"She passed away recently and they've gone through some family hardships and some family difficulties."
"His father has been looking for employment and was informed yesterday that he was able to find a job We're glad for his father that he was able to find work and get a job in this economy," Davis added.
"Brandon's a good kid and we wish him the best."
Willis's departure to the PAC-10 leaves a hole for the Tar Heels along the defensive line that the coaches will be looking to address in the 2011 class.