But Wednesday, Whiteford officially committed to play for the Tar Heels, signing his National Letter of Intent on the first day of early signing.
“I have a bunch of family that lives up there,” Whiteford said. “It was the best baseball program out of the all of those. It was a good fit for me.”
Whiteford becomes the second Division I-signee in two years for Panthers baseball coach Mick Harper. Former Chapel Hill outfielder Kyle Barrett inked with the University of Kentucky last year.
Whiteford has continued a family tradition at shortstop for Chapel Hill. Whiteford’s older brother, Michael, was a four-year starter at short for the Panthers. When Michael graduated and moved on to play for Tennessee-Wesleyan, Brandon stepped up his freshman year to fill his brother’s shoes at shortstop and will have started all four seasons for the Panthers when the 2013 season rolls around in the spring.
“Except for the time when he’s been injured or something, we’ve had eight-straight years of Whitefords at shortstop,” said Harper.
Whiteford battled a back injury during his junior season for Chapel Hill, appearing in just eight games. In limited action, he hit .333 in 15 at-bats with two doubles, a homerun and 10 RBIs.
Whiteford said he’s still recuperating from the back injury, but expects to be in the lineup full-time for his senior season with the Panthers.
According to ESPN, Whiteford is one of the top-10 middle infield prospects in the country for the Class of 2013.
While he plays shortstop for Chapel Hill, Whiteford plays mostly at second base for Team Elite based in Winder, Ga.
It was playing in tournaments for Team Elite that Whiteford attributes with helping him catch the attention of several big-time colleges.
Perfect Game, an amateur baseball scouting service, sets up showcase tournaments for college and Major League Baseball scouts around the country. Whiteford has played games in several tournaments for Perfect Game and has a rating of 8.5 out of 10 in his best game at their tournaments.
“I just kept working hard, kept practicing, went into big tournaments and did well in them,” Whiteford said. “As soon as I started doing well in some of those tournaments, I started getting some contacts from some schools. North Carolina contacted me and it just took off from there.”
Whiteford said North Carolina is eyeing him as a prospective second baseman. Harper said with all he’s seen, he believes Whiteford can go to North Carolina and make an impact as a freshman.
“He’s got all the tools,” said Harper. “He’s got a great arm. He throws righty, hits lefty. He’s probably got the quickest set of hands of any hitter we’ve ever had here. It’s unbelievable how he can take an inside pitch and keep it fair. He can hit the ball to all fields. He’s got tremendous speed. He’s been one of the top athletes we’ve had baseball-wise here. He can do it all.”