CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Four hours of sleep. Then a flight which left Baltimore at three in the morning. When he landed in North Carolina, the pre-camp breakfast was Bojangles.
In spite of all that, Westlake cornerback A.J. Terrell qualified for Nike’s “The Opening” from the Charlotte regional on Sunday. He became one of 72 elite athletes who have already qualified for Nike’s elite combine in July at its corporate headquarters in Oregon.
He’s rated as the nation’s No. 21 cornerback and No. 185 prospect overall for 2017. Look for those measures to climb north after Terrell’s strong showing on the spring camp circuit.
Terrell said UGA, Auburn, Florida and South Carolina are the four schools standing out to him right now. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is his lead recruiter for UGA.
“He’s just saying Georgia is a good place with Will (Poole) committed there already and all of us are all from the Peach State,” Terrell said. “They are telling me we could be a top secondary in the country.”
It won’t matter to Terrell how many elite prospects Georgia signs at defensive back in 2017.
“I am not worried about that,” Terrell said. “I know I will get on the field where I go.”
How does he feel about Georgia now?
“Georgia is a top contender,” Terrell said. “I like Georgia. It is an in-state school so that is a plus.”
Terrell said that those four top schools are recruiting him the hardest. He also said there isn’t any other offer out there he’s looking for.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder was one of six campers and two defensive backs who earned the golden ticket on Sunday. He did so after staying up late Saturday and flying in early from an Under Armour prospect speed event in Maryland.
“It was a dream come true,” Terrell said. “I’ve been dreaming of this since I was little. Great experience. I really accomplished one of my goals. One of my major goals.”
The junior cornerback, who has the size and length of a safety, said he hears a lot from UGA’s current crop of commits. Most of those guys have a future in sales once their playing days are over.
“The guys I know aren’t pressuring me,” Terrell said. “They are not just ‘come on come on come on’ but they are giving me time and room to decide on my own. But they are giving me a lot of reasons (to commit to UGA) though.”
Terrell thinks he could fit in with the Bulldogs’ current group of recruits, including his high school teammate Jaden Hunter. Hunter is committed to play linebacker in Athens.
“I’ve played with all of them,” Terrell said. “We’ve all got a connection so if I do go there we would be a lockdown secondary and all that type of stuff. I am just taking it slow right now.”
Terrell will not enroll early, saying he wants to either make his decision in the summer of the middle of next season.
The rising senior did not make it to G-Day. That Saturday was complicated by a track meet.
“I wanted to go, but after the track meet I tried to go but I couldn’t make it,” Terrell said.
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