Nigel Warrior, one of the nation’s top uncommitted prospects, is ready for the next step of his recruiting. That’s counter to the perception the 4-star safety isn’t interested in talking to coaches right now.
“That’s a misread,” he said. “My Mom and I actually are getting to the point where we want to line up official visits. We want to do a LSU visit. I want to go to LSU and other places we need to get to that maybe I won’t take an official to.”
The Peachtree Ridge senior said he won’t take an official visit to Alabama, Tennessee or UGA. That’s significant. Those are probably everyone’s three best guesses as to where he will wind up.
“That’s nothing to worry because those are close drives from Georgia,” Warrior said. “Look at Oregon. That’s a five-and-a-half-hour flight. Those are the places you’ll see me take my official visits, too.”
He has no leaders, but the 6-foot, 195-pounder said it was a career goal to get an offer from UGA. He said that program surprised him with how well it recruited him over the last year.
“I really like Georgia now,” Warrior said. “Georgia is a great place and a nice hometown school. If you are a Georgia boy, how would you not love to play for Georgia? I feel comfortable with the thought of playing at Georgia.”
UGA has two main draws.
“Great place and great school and Coach (Jeremy Pruitt) is a great defensive backs coach,” Warrior said. “I want to have a great relationship with my coaches and I can see that with Pruitt. I can sit down with him and talk life situations comfortably maybe right after we just got through watching film.”
Location is another.
“My whole family is from Georgia,” Warrior said. “I would be representing Georgia and I would be representing my entire family at UGA.”
Dale Carter – Nigel’s father – was an all-timer at Tennessee and a first-round draft pick. He had 14 seasons in the NFL. His uncle, Jake Reed, also spent 12 years in the NFL.
“My Dad says nobody can pick where I go,” he said. “They are not me. He said I’ll feel a certain type of way about a school and nobody else. I have to be there for three-to-four years and pick my major and decide which coaches fit my personality. He said I have to pick that. He’s not. He’s not going to be there in my situation.”
He described the great relationship he has formed with the Tennessee coaches in the same vein as Pruitt. Does Warrior relish the thought of following his Dad’s path at Tennessee? He does, but only to a point.
“I can follow in my Dad’s footsteps but the word legacy is all I hear,” Warrior said. “That gets to me because I want to be my own person. They just see me as Dale Carter’s son. They say I’m a good player or whatever but all I hear is Dale Carter this-and-that. I don’t know if Tennessee doesn’t really just regard me as just Nigel Warrior.”
Warrior named his Top 10 this summer. Look for schools like LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Oregon and Ohio State to be strong contenders for his official visits. He’s not sure yet, but his thinking with those are to use his officials for the longer road trips.
He said Arizona State, Oregon, Tennessee and UGA are recruiting him the hardest right now, but also really appreciates Alabama’s approach.
“They don’t bug you,” Warrior said. “They don’t try to send you messages or try to get in touch with you every day. I like that. Ohio State has that approach. They let you be a high school student and a kid who plays football, too. They let you breathe a bit for however long before you want to talk.”
The hunch here is that approach will win over Warrior. He likes his space, has an introspective mind and needs time to sort it out on his clock. He’s also looking for a school that gets him as a person and not just for ball skills, incredible instincts and a 40 time.
“I’m a human being who wakes up and goes to school with his own highs and lows,” Warrior said. “Some people don’t get that. It irks me when people only see me as a player. I would try to be the smartest kid in this school if I wasn’t a football player.”
Warrior said he had to slow things down with his recruiting with the waves of coaches and reporters coming at him. He had to find his own way. He breaks down each school that is recruiting him with two tools: 1) Google research 2) Current player feedback
“Every coach will talk about developing you and the NFL,” Warrior said. “I pay attention to that to a point but then I do research on the coach who is talking to me. I do a background check on them with what they’ve done in their career. The other big thing is talking to current players who are at that school. They will tell you straight-up how it will be or if that school is not a fit for them now and they are still there.”
Warrior would actually prefer playing cornerback long-term in his career. His father played safety in college, but moved to corner in the NFL. He also currently plans to make his college decision in February on National Signing Day.
Jeff Sentell covers 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.