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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
All-American DB Terrion Arnold is a very big remaining target for Georgia in the 2021 recruiting cycle.

Terrion Arnold: Priority All-American 2021 DB target lays out his recruiting outlook

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This entry will thoroughly detail a very recent conversation with priority remaining 2021 target Terrion Arnold of John Paul II Catholic School out of Tallahassee in Florida. 

Terrion Arnold knows what he wants. At least for this week.

When asked what an All-American DB and the nation’s No. 2 safety (247Sports) has on his Christmas list, his answer reflects a little bit more than his 4-star status or any prospect ranking.

His answer is uncommon, but it reflects how he is wired on and off the field.

“I know this answer is going to be real different but I thank God every day for waking me up and blessing me,” Arnold said. “So I just want to wake up on Christmas Day.”

He released his final five of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M earlier this month.

His typical day now finds him in the midst of basketball season. A handful of SEC teams want him to walk-on and play basketball, too. He had 30 points in his first game of this season. He said he probably should’ve had 40. He had a triple-double with 17 points in his second game of 2020.

“I just got out of basketball practice today about 30 minutes ago,” Arnold said this week. “I just got some food. Now I’m on my way to DB workouts for the day. It doesn’t stop. I’m in love with the process of what it takes.”

He knows Georgia signed his friend Xavian Sorey Jr. during the early period. Those two have made it known they want to play together, if at all possible.

“Then in particular just seeing my boy Sorey on there that day,” Arnold said. “I was just on the phone with him a couple of minutes before and then turned on the TV and saw him on “SportsCenter” and like those guys talking about him and stuff. I was like ‘Wow man. I’m really proud of him’ and that’s going to be me in two months.”

Sorey didn’t tell Arnold where he was heading.

“He had said one time he would tell me but I didn’t want to know,” Arnold said. “I’m not that type of person. If it would have gotten leaked, I didn’t want him to wonder or say if it was me. I’d rather be surprised.”

The reason Sorey chose UGA wasn’t foreign to Arnold.

“He didn’t even tell me why,” Arnold said. “I didn’t even ask.”

He didn’t need to ask. Arnold knew why.

“His relationship with Kirby Smart,” Arnold said. “Kirby is a real real great recruiter and like down-to-earth. He takes care of his guys for the long term and during the time in college. Just a great dude.”

How much does the Xavian Sorey Jr. decision matter here? 

Arnold will sign with one of his five finalists on the first day of the traditional period on Feb. 3.

“Right now as far as where I am at I would say that all five schools I could see myself playing at and benefitting from,” Arnold said. “When you get to that kind of level, there really is no wrong decision.”

How much does the fact that Sorey is now a ‘Dawg matter?

“It is pretty big for me now I’m not even going to lie to you,” Arnold said. “That’s somebody I am close with. That’s somebody I would room together with and compete with every day. Grew up around. We grew up coming from basically the same area. That’s pretty good connections right there.”

He said he might even let “The Barber” cut his hair, too.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “I’ve seen him cut enough people’s hair to trust him. I’d let him give me an edge, though. Not a haircut.”

Those two talk to one another about every other day. He had planned to make two trips since his “Truckbed” visit with other key UGA targets at the start of the season, but a slight wrist injury or his basketball schedule prevented those visits, including a visit set for last weekend.

RELATED: Xavian Sorey breaks down how much the Bulldogs need Terrion Arnold in 2021

Terrion Arnold-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Terrion Arnold played all over the field at receiver, safety and kick return for John Paul II Catholic this fall. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Terrion Arnold: He lays out the five finalists for his decision

Arnold had that impressive final 5 announcement reel on Dec. 1. It looks like the prelude for a commitment video, but he hasn’t shot that yet.

He will be busy over the next six weeks making those no-contact self-guided campus visits.

“I’ve got to get back down to Georgia one time,” he said. “I went to Florida. I’ve got to get back down to Georgia. I will probably say I want to get back down to all of my whole top five before all this ends.”

He’s been to LSU before, but has yet to visit Texas A&M. He has said in the past he will not allow a game result to influence or weigh heavily in his decision.

“That Florida-Alabama game or that Florida-Georgia game or different games like that will not influence my decision at all,” he said.

He went on to share the biggest reasons why he might choose one of those five finalists on Signing Day.

  • Alabama: Man, a heck of a school. Great recruiting class that they are getting in. Their corners are always competing. Nick Saban’s legacy as far as being a hands-on DB coach. Kirby [Smart] learned from him. Then his track record. My relationship with Nick Saban and things like that.”
  • Florida: “Born and raised in Florida. Florida State was my dream school. Florida is now the second-closest thing to Florida State for me. They are up top right now and at the peak of cracking a national championship.” 
  • Georgia: “Definitely the relationship with the head coach.”
  • LSU: If I chose LSU,  it is ‘DBU’ and the track record they have of putting their guys in the NFL. Baton Rouge is just a whole mentality and area of being down there. They were the first big-time school to take a chance on me and I will always remember that and the vision that [cornerbacks} coach [Corey] Raymond and [safeties] coach [Bill] Busch have put in place for me.” 
  • Texas A&M: “Jimbo [Fisher] is like an uncle to me. I grew up around him. In Texas, everything is bigger in Texas and how they got screwed in the national playoffs just shows how close and on the verge they are and how he’s changing that program around. They haven’t had a big-time Florida DB come in and change the program kind of like how he got a Jalen Ramsey and a Derwin James. He like compared me to those guys as far as an instant impact guy.”

The opportunities to play basketball won’t be a major factor.

“Basketball will factor into it a little bit,” he said. “But at the same time in basketball, it doesn’t matter where you are. In football, you need to be on a great team.”

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How those finalists plan to use Terrion Arnold

He is rated as the nation’s No. 5 safety and the No. 106 overall recruit for the 2021 cycle on the 247Sports Composite ratings. The clear opinion here is Arnold is a far better player than that. That rating is saddled down by a low No. 22 overall safety and No. 54 player rating in Florida by ESPN.

247Sports has him as the No. 2 safety and the No. 26 overall recruit. That’s high enough to make him the No. 6 player in Florida this year. Rivals pegs him as the nation’s No. 5 safety and the No. 59 overall prospect. He’s the No. 14 player and rising for that service.

It is interesting to see how Arnold feels about those five finalists. But it is also noteworthy to see how he feels each upper echelon SEC program plans to use him, too.

Arnold described how each program planned to use him.

  • Alabama: “With Alabama, it is the right side or left side corner. Because I can cover really well and I’m physical and in the return game with them also.”
  • Florida: “It is safety. It is free safety. Kind of like that [Shawn] Davis spot but I’m way faster than [Shawn] Davis and more aggressive. They said it will change the whole outcome of how their safeties play.” 
  • Georgia: Corner, STAR and Kirby is really big on special teams and giving me the ball in my hands so a lot of special teams.” 
  • LSU: “With LSU, it is corner.”
  • Texas A&M: “With Texas A&M, it is safety.”

Check out his career highlight reel embedded below.

Terrion Arnold goes in-depth on how he feels about UGA

Arnold was a priority for Georgia heading into the early period. He’s been No. 1 on the DawgNation.com “Top Targets” list for the 2021 cycle since 5-star Amarius Mims committed to UGA in October.

But the Bulldogs were not able to sign 21-year-old CB De’Jahn “Nugget” Warren during the early period. The UGA commitment wound up choosing Jackson State to play for Deion Sanders. Warren was the. nation’s No. 1 JUCO cornerback prospect this year.

Georgia needed to sign a slew of DBs in the 2021 class. The Bulldogs did sign one pure safety, a talented hybrid and two cornerbacks during the early period. That’s vital to replace the expected exodus of two veteran safeties and three cornerbacks off the 2020 roster to the NFL.

It takes the pursuit of Arnold into an area of even greater importance. Arnold has said Kirby Smart has told him he could win a Jim Thorpe Award in college. He said he was even told he could be a Heisman finalist.

Terrion Arnold-Georgia recruiting-UGA recruiting
Terrion Arnold is seen as a safety for Florida and Texas A&M. Alabama, Georgia and LSU view him at cornerback. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Warren is no longer in the UGA class. Arnold might now be the most ready-to-go DB prospect in the class because he can excel at multiple positions in the secondary.

“I look at it like that’s instant playing time now,” he said.

Arnold said the two big words that best simplify his decision would be “competition” and “relationships.”

“Really it comes down to who is going to challenge me every day in practice,” he said. “You practice way more than you play. What will give me the best home feeling? Not the exact term of ‘home’ there. Of course, you have to go off to college and grow up, but like how I grew up. Like in Tallahassee I grew up around a lot of violence and stuff so I stay to myself. In college, I plan on doing the same thing. Just making sure I am not around a lot of different drama.”

“When I go on the visits and hang around the players, I see how the players act. These players could possibly be my future teammates. I observe how they talk about the coaching staff and how they talk about practice and certain things like that.”

He stressed the importance of finding a program that will challenge him.

“I’m a competitor and I don’t think anyone has a competitive mindset like me,” he said.

He wants to find a group of receivers in practice every day that will test him. Beat him even. They will force him to adapt and get better.

“What school is going to force me to be the best of the best?” he said. “To force even more of my competitiveness out of me.”

Does Georgia have that? Can Dominick Blaylock, Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, George Pickens and Arian Smith provide that?

“That would be a movie just going up against those guys every day,” he said. “They’ve got guys at Georgia.”

He said that Georgia improved its position with him by what they showed late in the season with new quarterback J.T. Daniels.

“It fit me way better,” he said. “If you can have an outstanding defense but if you can’t score any points then you can’t win any big games.”

Terrion Arnold-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football
Terrion Arnold got to visit UGA for the Missouri game last season. He was basically the only elite national recruit there that day. (Terrion Arnold/Instagram)

 

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SENTELL’S INTEL

(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)

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