Moving His Pieces

GOOSE CREEK, SC – In a world of folks playing checkers Tramel Terry is playing chess.

Terry, who most analysts consider the top football prospect in South Carolina this year, has been playing chess with his uncle Stanley McIntyre for the last few years.

"Of course I like to use the queen the most," he said with a smile. "But I like using the knights, too, because they can move in a way that can be tricky. My uncle and I don't play one another every time we see each other, but we play a lot. He taught me how to play, and we are both real competitive with it."

The competition for Terry the prospect has ended – at least in theory – as he recommitted to Georgia today. The move by the Low Country native give Georgia's 2013 recruiting class another significant commitment and tremendous momentum into the busy spring evaluation period.

But Terry admits that he grew tired of the recruiting process… particularly of late.

"I almost wish I only had two offers right now," Terry jokingly said of the attention he was getting last week. "Every day it's a new coach on my Facebook page, and folks call all of the time. I know they are just doing their jobs."

The week I met with Terry was an abnormally busy one.

On Wednesday he spoke to youngsters at Marrington Elementary, which is located in a nearby Naval Weapons Station Base. The chance to speak to at Marrington was important for Terry because his father, Emory, is in the Navy now and much of his family life was dictated by his father's service to the country.

"It's something we do," Terry said. "I think Coach (Chuck) Reedy knows that sort of stuff prepares us for the future."

Each day of the week Terry dropped his younger sister Araya Newton off at Corcoran Elementary. The extra stop in the day means he has to get up at 6 A.M. – which he could do without.

"I don't like getting up in the morning that early," he admitted. "But I did just get my license not that long ago and getting up that early takes some getting used to."

Terry also went with the rest of his teammates to the state capital in Columbia to receive praise from the state house and senate for winning the AAAA state title in the fall. He also got to drop in on South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium after the spotlight from the legislature was over. The trip back from Columbia was full of traffic from wrecks on I-26 – the interstate connecting Charleston and Columbia.

The traffic made the week even longer for Terry. Many folks in Columbia – particularly those coaching the Gamecocks – were hopeful that he would stay home and pick Carolina over the Bulldogs.

"I really do have a great relationship with Steve Spurrier, Jr.," Terry said. "But I can't pick a school because of one relationship."

It appears he picked his school because of the relationship with many – many of his future teammates. Terry, quarterback Brice Ramsey and running back Derrick Henry all committed to the Bulldogs last summer at Dawg Night. The move was one of the biggest in the history of recruiting at Georgia. Getting Ramsey was a huge deal, but snagging arguably the two top players in Florida and South Carolina?

"The Fab Five," Terry said with a grin – a name the group of five players (including 2012's John Theus and 2014's Stanley Williams) gave themselves shortly after that weekend in the summer of 2011.

But as recruiting went on those around Terry says he felt like he committed too early during the summer, and he backed away from his decision to pick the Bulldogs.

"People didn't understand why I decommitted," he said. "Everyone always thought it was because people were pressuring me to stay in state, but that's not what it was."

Terry didn't elaborate on the reason he took a step back from his past commitment to the Dawgs, but says that he's confident that he will have the support of those around him in the future.

"I know that people are going to support me wherever I go because I am from here," he said of his relationship with his family and support around him at the high school. "Look at A.J. Green and Carlos Dunlap – they got support when they left."

It's clear that support is not lacking for the younger Terry. His mother and stepfather, Robert, are at nearly every sporting event he participates in. His father, too, goes through extraordinary efforts to see Tramel play.

"He will drive up here to watch me run a race that takes ten seconds and then turn around and go back home," Terry said.

That wouldn't normally seem like that big of a deal, but Emory Terry lives and works near Jacksonville, and that makes his dedication quite a feat. The elder Terry will retire from the Navy March 9th, and Terry plans on being there when he does - making this week even bigger for the future Bulldog and current chess player.

"Checkers never really was for me," he said. "I guess it was just too easy."

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