Terrion Arnold: Georgia’s recruiting pitch now includes a former 5-star Bulldog DB
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Terrion Arnold was recently asked a question. Surrounded by his younger brother and two of his “brothers” on the John Paul II Catholic football team.
The topic: What really motivates him as an athlete?
He’s had great answers there before. Arnold has told DawgNation about a redemption senior year after he suffered a dislocated ankle which cost him his entire sophomore season.
Arnold has also brought up how he is driven to restore the reputation for Tallahassee football in the Sunshine State. He wants Florida’s state capitol to be once again known for great players.
As it turns out, those were the silver and bronze medal answers, respectively.
What also really drives the All-American DB is to be better than his younger brother. Leon Washington, Jr., his younger brother, is the son of a former FSU standout who was chosen in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
“Really my true answer is probably my little brother,” Arnold said late last month.
There’s a true sibling rivalry there.
“I don’t want him to be anywhere near or anywhere close to being better than me,” Arnold said. “I know he is going to be pretty big-time but I just don’t want him to feel or to have his own answer to the question ‘Do you feel like you are better than your big brother?’ and obviously he might say yes but I just want him to see the numbers and spit them out and folks will say you are nowhere close to doing what he did.”
The most accurate depiction of the family tree would cite them as half-brothers, but those two could not be any closer.
When Arnold made what was one of his biggest plays this year on defense, he turned and looked to the sideline and locked eyes with his defensive coordinator Travis Norton and his now 15-year-old brother.
Arnold jumped over a fallen player on the field to make a tackle. When he did, he wanted to flex a little bit.
“I was looking over at my teammates and I saw Coach Travis and his eyes and I saw my little brother’s eyes. It got me turnt.”
“Turnt” is not in Webster’s dictionary yet. Rest assured it meant he was hyped up or turned up by the moment.
The nation’s No. 2 safety prospect (247Sports) wants badly to leave a legacy for his time at St. John Paul II Catholic. He has at least one game left in his season.
‘The one word that would come to mind is spectacular,” Arnold said. “Anytime the ball came in my hands or anytime I stepped on the field you were witnessing a show.”
DawgNation recently wrote about the spectacular game Arnold had for his Class 2A Panthers in a thrilling road upset of 7A Chiles. It was an All-American night by any standard, but those around the program called it a “typical” Terrion Arnold night.
His recruiting could very well come down to a choice between Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Check out his midseason highlight reel below.
Terrion Arnold: A few big things to know about his process
Arnold recently spoke at length with DawgNation. A full breakdown of that conversation is waiting in the featured video slot above and below.
That conversation was also featured on DawNation’s weekly “Before the Hedges” program this week. Among the many subjects, there are a few broken out below which will remain central to the remainder of his recruiting process.
They are summarized here, but Arnold’s full thoughts on the matter are available in that aforementioned “DawgNation Conversation” with the 4-star DB.
- What did the cancellation of the All-American Bowl mean to his timeline? In short, there was always a chance he might be swayed to commit live on national TV with the other heavyweights in the 2021 class. With the game no longer a possibility, he will likely stick to his plan of the traditional National Signing Day in February of 2021. “I think I am going to go to February now,” he said.
- When will he drop his top 5? Soon. He’s teased it a bit over the last two weeks, but a safe assumption would be for it to drop this month during the Florida high school playoffs. He said he could drop it at any moment in time by now.
- Recent communication from Georgia: Arnold was in contact with both defensive backs coach Charlton Warren and Kirby Smart the week of the Chiles game. Smart, who always seems to be on top of these things, told Arnol he wished his sibling a Happy Birthday on the day Washington turned 15. He also counseled Arnold to be a good leader for his team and his talented teammates.
- Georgia freshman CB Kelee Ringo has been getting to know Arnold: Ringo, the former 5-star recruit, is a freshman at UGA. He’s out for the year after off-season shoulder surgery. “Kelee and I have been building a pretty strong relationship,” Arnold said.
- What does it mean for Kirby Smart to be recruiting him when he grew up just 30-35 minutes from Tallahassee? “Everything we talk about is relatable,” Arnold said of Smart. “He actually knows where I am from, what I like to do on the weekends, what there is to do and he kind of portrays it. He knows what high school football is like down here.”
Check out the full “DawgNation Conversation” here.
Terrion Arnold: Checking in on the Georgia interest here
The first two plays of his mid-season reel are impressive Pick-6 touchdowns. The third shows him picking up a loose ball on a punt that had yet to be downed. Arnold weaved his way for another impressive score that featured a high-five with a teammate coming from the opposite side of the field as he broke into the clear for another six points.
Those plays speak to the “high praise” Kirby Smart had for Arnold. He said Smart told him he could win a Jim Thorpe Award and even make it to the Downtown Athletic Club as a Heisman finalist in his college career.
He was motivated for that game against 7A Chiles for an interesting reason.
“There were a lot of people coming to the game who hadn’t seen me play yet,” he said. “But it was really about playing sound football and doing what’s best for my team. and my guys.”
But there was a message he got from a Chiles cheerleader. It showed there was a little bit of Georgia on his mind for that game.
“One of the Chiles cheerleaders texted me and they said their 60-year-old grandpa is coming to see me play,” Arnold said. “He’s a huge fan of Georgia and he wants to see what the hype is about so that’s one thing going through my mind that has been motivating me.”
His Pope John Paul II Panthers only went 27 players deep against 7A Chiles. That playing rotation included about 15-16 freshmen. The Panthers start about 10 to 11 of those ninth-graders on Friday nights.
Arnold delivered with 10 tackles, 2 interceptions, 64 receiving yards, 4 TD-saving tackles, a pair of 2-point conversion catches and a walk-off Pick-6 as time expired to finish off the game.
When it was all over, Arnold said something that showed where his head was at.
“We are going to look and enjoy this moment and within the next 24 hours man we are going to get prepared,” Arnold said. “I’ve got to go take the ACT in the morning so I’ve got to go home and get some rest.”
How did he describe the continued interest from the Bulldogs?
“It has really been like full-out pressure like as far as the players DM-ing me,” Arnold said. “I had a conference call with Kirby [Smart] the other day as to where they see me play at and the right fits for the system and just the impact I could have right away.”
Got a lot to share here. Let’s start with the walk-off Pick-6 from @ArnoldTerrion where he calls game. That’s the fifth pick of his senior season so far. Class 2A John Paul II 40, Class 7A Chiles 27. Being told this is the biggest win in their program history. pic.twitter.com/SRuWkQOaKZ
— Jeff Sentell (@jeffsentell) October 24, 2020
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