There was a time when South Carolina and Clemson didn’t provide much to entice an elite college football recruit. The pull of the home state school could only hold up so well against a backdrop of mediocre football. But now, the Gamecocks are in the midst of their best run in the program’s history and the Tigers are coming off an ACC title.
More and more, top-tier talent is staying home.
But Tramel Terry is leaving.
“It’s a done deal,” the nation’s 18th-best wide receiver said.
“There was about a 20-year span there where (South Carolina prospects) were going all over the place,” Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy said. “That’s why Clemson or Carolina neither one was worth a damn for about 20 years. But now you see those kids that are staying in state.”
Terry “signed” with the Bulldogs on December 7th in a ceremony at Goose Creek. Fellow 2013 Bulldog signee and close friend Brice Ramsey was there to support Terry. The bond between the South Carolina native and Georgia is growing, and has been growing for some time now.
Terry calls freshman Georgia running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall “like my brothers.”
“Georgia, it’s a good place. It feels like home,” Terry said. “When I went up there, I just felt like it was right.”
When Terry gets to Georgia it is possible that he could be playing the same position as Gurley and Marshall. Reedy, who has turned the Goose Creek team from an afterthought into state champions, is such a proponent of the running game that he is called “Ground Chuck” in South Carolina. In other words, having one of the nation’s best wide receivers doesn’t do the Gators much good. So Reedy found other ways to use Terry.
In Goose Creek’s fifth game of the year, the Gators were getting an unexpected test from Dutch Fork, a team coached by Tom Knotts, who made Charlotte (N.C.) Independence into a national powerhouse and sent Mohammed Massaquoi and Joe Cox to Georgia. That’s when Reedy moved Terry into the backfield. Half a dozen first downs later, many of them gained by a zig-zagging Terry, the clock and the threat from Dutch Fork was extinguished.
“I personally think that he is becoming more of a running back,” Reedy said. “We don’t throw the ball a lot so what we have done the last two years is put him at tailback just so we can make sure he gets the ball in his hands 10 or 12 times. He’s a 200-pound guy, 300-pound bencher. He’s a big, physical guy who is very strong and very fast. I can envision him being a tailback, I really could.”
Terry even could play cornerback, Reedy said. He played safety for Goose Creek in key situations.
“He can do a lot of things,” Reedy said. “I think he’s got a bright future. He’s just a wonderful young man. He’s very bright. He’s everything you are looking for.”
Terry had 75 receiving yards and 59 rushing yards against Dutch Fork – you could see why Reedy has such confidence in Terry’s future.
“We run the ball a lot, and I look good at running back, but I also can play wide receiver,” he said. “My freshman and sophomore year I was really just the deep ball threat, and they really didn’t need me. My junior year, that’s when they started really putting me at both running back and wide receiver because that’s when they really knew I could make plays. Even at running back, I can be a threat in the backfield on flare routes. I can do anything a coach wants me to.”
If he does end up at wide receiver, Terry could continue a long string of Palmetto State pass-catching products that includes A.J. Green and Alshon Jeffery. But the player who dominated Goose Creek’s part of the state during Terry’s formative years is current South Carolina slot receiver Bruce Ellington. Terry still remembers when Ellington “ripped us apart” during Terry’s freshman year.
“In the offseason of my freshman year, I told him, ‘Yo, I’m going to be the next Bruce Ellington around the Lowcountry,’” Terry said, “and I am happy that I am.”
Terry was voted Mr. Football for the Palmetto State just before his enrollment at Georgia in January.