Practice Tour: Todd Gurley

TARBORO, N.C. --- Todd Gurley visited North Carolina on Thursday for his first chat with the Tar Heels' coaching staff since departure of Butch Davis.

"I felt a little better [about UNC after the visit], even though I was feeling alright already," Gurley said. "Even though Butch Davis was a pretty cool coach, they still have other cool coaches there and I have a relationship with all of them."

The main objective of Gurley's visit Thursday was to spend time with interim head coach Everett Withers. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound athlete met individually with Withers in his office.

"I just got a chance to talk to him and get to know him, because I didn't really know too much about him," Gurley said. "He was just giving me his background and giving me advice. We were just really catching up. He said ever since Coach Davis left, they haven't really missed a beat to anything. I didn't really have too many questions. I was just asking him how everything was going since the last time that I visited them."

Gurley also had a brief conversation with John Shoop, UNC's offensive coordinator.

"He just said offensively, they are just getting better and better every day," Gurley said. "He said they're having good practices."

Through the rocky last few weeks, UNC remains as Gurley's favorite school. He has, though, postponed his plans to make a verbal commitment within the next couple of months until after UNC meets with the NCAA's committee on infractions.

In the meantime, Gurley will take his official visits. He plans to take at least three during the season and already has one scheduled with Georgia (versus South Carolina) on Sept. 10.

"I'll probably [also schedule official visits to] Auburn, maybe Clemson, and Virginia Tech," Gurley said. "The last one will be to either UNC or NC State. But with UNC and NC State, I've been up there so many times that I really don't need to take an official."

This fall, Gurley will be balancing his recruitment with Tarboro's title defense. The Vikings have won the past two NCHSAA 2A Championships and are riding a 23-game winning streak.

"We're into goal setting at Tarboro High School," Tarboro head coach Jeff Craddock said. "Going back to January, the seniors set a goal that they want to win another state championship. We believe in setting goals high and we want to be the best in the state.

"I think we have a team good enough to accomplish that. However, we also understand that injuries are a part of football. And you have to get a lucky bounce every now and then… You have to do a lot of things right to win a state championship."

Gurley is a major piece of Tarboro's three-peat hopes. He starts on both offense and defense and returns kickoffs. Last season, he scored 30 all-purpose touchdowns (26 rushing, one passing, one receiving, and two kickoff returns) and accumulated 79 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble.

"If I do come out, it would be on offense," Gurley said. "Most of the time, I don't like coming out on defense, because I feel like I can prevent the other team from scoring. If the other team doesn't score, then we're probably going to win."

Although Gurley is the reigning Rocky Mount Telegram All-Area Player-of-the-Year, Craddock cautions those who view Tarboro as a one-man team.

"Todd's a great football player," Craddock said. "But I also think we have a lot of really good football players... Does Todd make us better? Absolutely. He's a great kid. He's a great player. But injuries happen and if something happens to Todd and he misses a game or two or three or whatever, we still have a great football team. We don't make excuses. We're 35 strong."

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