BEAVERTON, Ore. — Toneil Carter met the media Friday night at The Opening. When he did, there was no subterfuge about which way he was leaning.
Clues? They stood out about as much as neon flashing yard markers would on any football field.
UGA star recruiter and commitment Richard LeCounte III gave the nation’s No. 5 running back a big hug just prior to the questions. Another prospect tried to hand him a Georgia wristband to wear during the interview.
Carter laughed. Then he proceeded to laugh some more during a media session that was laced with heavy Georgia overtones. Some prospects were even barking in the background.
The race is between Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M but this one sure sounds like it is over. The 4-star prospect’s announcement sometime this weekend will only make it official.
A 42-to-1 underdog once knocked out Mike Tyson, but the odds here mirror the line on someone wearing red and black and grilling a piece of meat in Clarke County this fall.
Consider the following points regarding Carter’s imminent decision:
- Who did he hang out with at lunch on Friday? That was LeCounte. “That dude is so special,” Carter said,
- He knows where he is going and has let the coaches know.
- Georgia is recruiting him the hardest.
- His best recruiting relationships are with the coaches at Georgia.
- The commitments at Georgia are tugging on him to join their class more than their peers at any other program.
- He plans to major in Kinesiology. He said Georgia was also the best academic fit for him in that regard.
- He said Georgia commitment Trey Blount and LeCounte got into an argument this week about which one of them had been recruiting him to join the class the hardest.
Carter calls himself a “complete back.” He said he ran 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash, clocked in at 4.22 seconds in the shuttle run and came up with a 35-inch vertical leap during SPARQ testing on Friday. He also threw the power ball 32 feet. He’s been timed at 10.5 seconds in the 100 meters in the past.
He will wear No. 28 at his school of choice. Why would that be Georgia?
“They produce a lot of running backs, I like their offense and coach (Dell) McGee is the icing on the cake,” Carter said.
He clarified just how much his relationship has grown with McGee along his recruitment.
“He’s a good spiritual father (and) also (like) a physical father,” Carter said. “He treats me like I am his son.”
The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder broke down his thoughts on each of his finalists:
LSU: “I am from New Orleans in Louisiana,” Carter said. “I have just been loving LSU since I was little.”
Texas A&M: “It is close to home,” he said. “It is right down the street from my family. They will be able to come to watch me.”
Georgia: “Just off what they produce,” Carter said. “They have produced a lot of Heisman Trophy winners and they send people to the league.”
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.