DAWSON, Ga. — The popular narrative regarding Terrell County athlete Detravion “Tray” Bishop doesn’t seem much in tune with the reality of his recruiting.
Bishop, who once had Auburn as his runaway leader, really isn’t interested in playing quarterback in college. He also feels Georgia is now recruiting him harder than any other school.
Bishop is rated as the nation’s No. 143 overall prospect for 2017. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
UGA assistant coach Kevin Sherrer also ranks right with Auburn’s Scott Fountain as the two recruiters he feels the most comfortable with.
“The coaches, the fan base and all the players committed there have really stepped up at Georgia,” Bishop said. “The players that I knew that are committed to Georgia really started working on me at that Rising Seniors game. There is just something new and great that they are building at Georgia. … Georgia has stepped up. Auburn was way up there for me. Then other schools started coming. Then Georgia started getting after it. Georgia has stepped up, man. Stepped way up. When Georgia wants to recruit you now, they come hard. They come real hard.”
The 6-foot-3, 196-pounder no longer has a leader, but just top schools. That top tier includes UGA, Auburn and Florida. He did say that there is some slight separation between UGA and Auburn in the lead in front of the Gators.
There is a great chance he chooses one of those three schools. Look for the nation’s No. 5 athlete to commit early in his senior season. That likely would be his first home game.
The junior athlete knows his future is either at receiver or safety. Bishop is ridiculously fast, having ripped off 10.5-second times in the 100 meters during track season. He plans to play some quarterback, receiver and safety this season.
Yet when reports are filed that suggest (insert big-time SEC coach here) has gotten Bishop’s attention by offering him the chance to be a dual-threat quarterback, please refer back to the following statement.
Will it be receiver or safety at the next level? Bishop just isn’t sure yet. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
“The simple fact is I don’t want to go to college to play quarterback,” Bishop said. “So I have got a couple of defensive plays (on my highlight tape) but this year I want to get the coaches more plays of me playing at receiver and safety.”
What about all that talk that his decision might swing on the chance he could play some quarterback?
“Not true,” Bishop said.
Bishop understands the process. His coach peppers him with reality. Recruiters are going to toss that magic word “quarterback” to lure him to campus and then switch it up with the best path for him to play right away is at receiver and safety. Thereby they accomplish the intent of importing that 10.5 speed to their defensive back or receiver room in the first place.
“Just tell me how it is up front,” said Bishop, who wants to wear No. 6 in college. “I’m not some kid. I’m not that passionate about playing quarterback at the next level. So a coach telling me I’m not playing quarterback will not crush my dreams. I don’t picture myself playing quarterback. I picture myself playing at receiver or safety. Whichever one fits me the best.”
While we are tossing around eye-opening statements, let’s throw this one into the top tier of paragraphs for good measure. William Huff, his old-school and no-nonsense high school coach, offered up a prediction about where he thinks Bishop will eventually sign.
“Georgia,” Huff said. “I think the structure that Georgia has there will be big for him. I know Kirby Smart will bring a lot of structure and discipline with that new mindset that is coming from Alabama’s system to what he wants to bring to the team at Georgia.”
Bishop is known for ripping off consecutive sub-4.5 second 40-yard dashes at multiple camps. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
That should bode well, along with some home state momentum. Before he became a recruit, Bishop grew up a Georgia fan. His grandfather and most of his extended family have been life-long Bulldogs. His room was a “Georgia room” right up until he entered high school.
“When I was little, I didn’t know about the recruiting process,” Bishop said. “When this process started to get crazy, I just changed my room to a neutral theme.”
Alabama was very interested in Bishop when Smart was on that staff. When Smart left, so did most of Alabama’s interest. But that connection gave Smart a recruiting relationship to build upon in Athens.
When he discussed his options, it is readily apparent that Bishop seems more animated when discussing his potential at receiver. Huff said he would play him at safety in college, but Bishop sounds like he has more fun at receiver, and there is his 4.36 speed in the 40.
Auburn and Georgia seem him as an athlete. Florida’s offer is just to play safety. Bishop doesn’t mind that. He can see himself only playing defense at Florida. That’s the unit he feels has all the juice in Gainesville.
“The only question I ask myself now is do I see myself getting hit or do I see myself laying the hit,” Bishop said. “That’s the question I am stuck on right now. … It is all about what I feel more comfortable with.”
Bishop, it should have been stated previously, set the Dawson County school record last month with a laser time of 10.48 seconds in the 100 meters. That’s “99” speed on the EA Sports scale.
Bishop plays quarterback among many positions for his high school team. But he’s not looking to do that on Saturdays. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)
His hands were not always a “99” on that same scale.
“Let me tell you something,” Bishop said. “In the ninth grade we were playing Seminole County, I burnt the defensive back three times in a row. Dropped three touchdown passes. That’s all it took me and then it was work, work, work. I started working with my coaches. All passes. One-handed catches. It got to the point where you’d see me on the weekend on Saturdays with cars driving by our field and me working on my hands.”
Bishop said his hands are now a “99” on that EA scale. Who does he try to play like on the field? He did not name a quarterback.
“I would say A.J. Green as the guy that I try to pattern my game after,” Bishop said.
He’s also been the target of the ultra-slick recruiting moves of UGA commit Richard LeCounte III. The two exchanged numbers during that week and stayed in touch throughout basketball season and the spring.
“He always just tells me ‘Just waiting on you now to come home’ when we talk about schools,” Bishop said. “That’s how Richard does it.”
Bishop, 17, has visited only UGA and Auburn this spring. He got his offer from Auburn last spring and then went to Alabama the next day. He ripped off a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash after an hour workout in Tuscaloosa.
He got noticed when he ran back-to-back 4.37s in the 40 at an Elite Junior Classic combine event last year. That got Smart’s initial attention. His recruiting took off after that.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.