Bryce Watts

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech defensive back Bryce Watts verbally committed to North Carolina on Sunday. Watts made the announcement on social media tweeting out a series of pictures of him in UNC's uniform from a recent visit to the school.  

At the time, a source familiar with the situation said Watts was leaving for personal reasons to be closer to home in New Jersey with the defensive back and his girlfriend expecting their first child later this year. Watts didn't get into specifics, but echoed the sentiment explaining his decision to leave Virginia Tech. 

"This decision was harder than the decision to come to VT," Watts said. "I want to thank Coach [Justin] Fuente, Coach [Brian] Mitchell, and Coach [Bud] Foster for giving me a chance to play football at Virginia Tech - it was the opportunity of a lifetime."

The prevailing feeling behind the scenes was that the one-time Rutgers commit would head back to his home state. Watts will have to sit out a year, but should be eligible when North Carolina hosts Virginia Tech in 2020. 

Watts started 12 games as a sophomore for the Hokies. He had 29 tackles (24 solo) with a team-leading seven pass break-ups. The defender repped with the first-team defense throughout the spring while taking on bigger leadership role and was expected to be a starter in the fall alongside Caleb Farley. 

Virginia Tech defensive backs Jovonn Quillen, Jermaine Waller and Armani Chatman will compete for the starting spot in the fall. 

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.