Aaron Schoonmaker

Gurley the latest in-state recruit to spurn local schools

Posted January 13, 2012

— “It’s not about the place that I would get the most playing time, it’s where I would be the most happy.”

Those words spoken by Todd Gurley, a highly-recruited running back out of Tarboro High School, prompted confusion, ire and a host of other emotions from Triangle-area college football fans Friday.

The superficial notion that leaving home can make somebody happier than staying close to what they know and have grown up with is perplexing. Even more so, it is the second time in the last month that a top running back from North Carolina has spurned in-state schools for the University of Georgia.

In fact, according to Rivals.com, only one of the top 11 prospects in the state of North Carolina is staying in-state to play college football next year.

J.J. Patterson, an offensive lineman ranks ninth on the Rivals in-state list and has committed to UNC. Of the other 10 players, three have committed to University of Florida – including each of the top two and the only two five-star prospects – two a piece are going to Georgia, Clemson and South Carolina. Linebacker Nick Dawson (No. 6) has committed to Louisville.

North Carolina State’s top in-boundary haul-in to date is defensive tackle from South Lenoir High School K’Hadree Hooker (No. 19). Of North Carolina’s top-30 recruits according to Rivals, UNC has commitments from six, NC State has three and Duke has one. SEC schools have lassoed seven and out-of-state ACC schools have pulled away four others. Five remain uncommitted.

So what’s the issue? There isn’t just one (and the reasons listed below are just a few that Gurley helped highlight Friday).

Working against all schools in the state – ACC schools not excluded – is the level of competition.

“I wanted to be able to play against the best competition and that would be the SEC, of course,” Gurley, who plans to major in business, said.

Until the ACC improves or the SEC falls off – or both – this is a matter of fact. The ESPN’s of the world slap the masses in the face with it, but it’s hard to argue otherwise,

Working against UNC, specifically, is the expected punishment from the NCAA as well as a new coaching staff.

“When coach Butch Davis was there, I was loving UNC a lot,” Gurley said. “It happened (the NCAA investigation and impending punishment) to open up my decision. God closed those doors for a reason and it just opened up another school for me to be at.”

Head coach Larry Fedora also overhauled the staff at UNC, which includes not retaining long-time recruiting coordinator Ken Browning, who was the one responsible for even making the Tar Heels an option for Gurley.

Gurley still said that ultimately it came down to Georgia and Clemson – the school he always wanted to go to.

NC State, a team that has been on the cusp of “the next level” for a few years, annually seems to be a top-recruit away. Nothing against recruiting coordinator Jerry Petercuskie, who has been with head coach Tom O’Brien since 1995, but he hasn’t shown the draw Georgia’s Rodney Garner, or similar-there-to, has.

Same can be said for the coaches in general at all North Carolina schools. NC State and UNC hats were each left on the table when Gurley opted for the Bulldogs and he, on more than one occasion, mentioned the Georgia staff.

For Gurley, the single biggest draw was “the relationship I had with coach (Mark) Richt and (running backs) coach (Bryan) McClendon.”

Even the fact that Gurley knew going in that he would be one of at least four underclassmen running backs battling for playing time didn’t deter the coaching relationship.

Gurley said that he bonded with Millbrook running back Keith Marshall, who also committed to Georgia, because, “there are not really that many people around here getting highly recruited like that.”

And those that are getting ‘recruited like that’ are finding it more appealing to leave rather than stay.

Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • ACC: Clemson at NC State

    Tonight at 9:00 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: NC State at Georgia Tech

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Arkansas at Florida

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Waste Management Phoenix Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC: Duke at Notre Dame

    Tonight at 7:30 on 620am

  • ACC: NC State vs. Clemson

    Tonight at 9:00 on WRAL-FM

  • SEC: Kentucky at Missouri

    Tomorrow at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. St. Louis

    Friday at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:30pm Tonight
ND
DUKE
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
NCSU
CLEM
9:00pm Tonight
MEM
ECU
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
CLE
POR
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
SAC
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
8:00pm Tonight
ATL
BRK
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
DEN
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
OKC
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
CHA
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
PHO
WAS
7:00pm Tonight
VERM
GTDNS
 
7:00pm Tonight
NAVY
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
UMBC
BING
 
7:00pm Tonight
JMU
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
RICH
DUQ
7:00pm Tonight
UNCW
ELON
 
7:00pm Tonight
USB
HART
 
7:00pm Tonight
WMARY
HOF
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
LAF
 
7:00pm Tonight
PSU
MINN
7:00pm Tonight
MAINE
UNH
 
7:00pm Tonight
DREX
NE
 
7:00pm Tonight
FORD
RIU
7:00pm Tonight
SFLA
SMU
7:00pm Tonight
MARQ
SHU
7:00pm Tonight
LSU
SCAR
7:00pm Tonight
UCF
TEMPL
7:00pm Tonight
LONG
UNCA
 
7:00pm Tonight
FSU
WAKE
7:00pm Tonight
CCAR
WINT
 
7:00pm Tonight
OU
WRST
 
7:30pm Tonight
ND
DUKE
7:30pm Tonight
GHND 0
HC 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
CSOU
RAD
 
7:30pm Tonight
OKLA
TTU
8:00pm Tonight
BRAD
DRAK
 
8:00pm Tonight
BUCK
LEH
 
8:00pm Tonight
WICHS
LOYC
8:00pm Tonight
ILLST
MIZST
 
8:00pm Tonight
PEAY
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDKST
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARST
ORST
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
RICE
8:05pm Tonight
SILL
NIOWA
9:00pm Tonight
NCSU
CLEM
9:00pm Tonight
MEM
ECU
9:00pm Tonight
MIAMI
GT
9:00pm Tonight
PURD
IND
9:00pm Tonight
TCU
KU
9:00pm Tonight
BC
LOU
9:00pm Tonight
MISS
MSST
9:00pm Tonight
CREI
STJ
10:00pm Tonight
SJST
AFA
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
OREG
11:00pm Tonight
WASH
STAN
7:30pm Tonight
NJD
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
WAS
PIT
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
CHI