High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: N.C. State

Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a diary with ESPNHS.

What's up World! Your boy TG is back with another blog to keep everyone updated with everything.

First off, I want to let y'all know me and my teammates are the defending back-to-back-to-back Class 2A state champions — or as you can call it, the three-peat! I had 21 carries for 246 yards and four touchdowns in my last high school game and I couldn't have done it without my O-line and the rest of my team and coaches. (This was a season to remember with my friends with all the things we've been through, but we never used excuses. At the end of the day, we did what we always do and that's win.

I just spent the week at the Shrine Bowl, representing my state, NC, and my town, Tarboro (252). It was fun seeing a couple of my bros on the team and meeting a lot of other players It was a great experience and I'll be back next week with another blog about the trip and our win. [Editor's note: Gurley rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns to lead North Carolina to a 26-19 win and earn Offensive MVP honors.]

Recruiting wise, I haven't been doing too much until the past couple weeks. Since the season ended, I've had in-house visits with Clemson, UGA, UNC, and NC State. They were all good visits but I can't lie — those visits can wear you out a lot!

Well, that's it for now. Don't forget to check me out on Twitter @TG1UNO.

My top schools: UNC, UGA, Clemson, and NC State.

The Five Days of List-Mas: NC's A-List

December, 12, 2011
12/12/11
11:35
AM ET
5

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!



Today: A-Listers.

In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. But who are the A-Listers in North Carolina? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state. Can you think of an A-Lister we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

5. Thomas Graham (SR), Cary Academy, Cross Country
Credentials: Four-time NCISSAA 3A state champ, ninth at Foot Locker Nationals, No. 20 in DyeStat rankings

4. Braxton Ogbueze (SR), United Faith Christian, Basketball
Credentials: Florida recruit, nation's No. 35 player in ESPNU 100

3. Todd Gurley (SR), Tarboro, Football
Credentials: State's No. 2 running back, led Vikings to three straight Class 2A titles, Semper Fidelis All-American

2. Rodney Purvis (SR), Upper Room Christian, Basketball
Credentials: Nation's No. 16 player in ESPNU 100, N.C. State recruit, 2011 Elite 24 participant, friends with Washington Wizards star John Wall

1. Keith Marshall (SR), Millbrook, Football
Credentials: Georgia recruit, Nation's No. 6 player in ESPNU 150, 2011 Gatorade State Player of the Year, Under Armour All-American, school's all-time leading rusher

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter@brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a recruit diary with ESPNHS.

What’s up, world!

It's been a while since my last blog, but I’m back with another one to keep everyone informed about what’s been going on recruiting-wise and during my football season.

Let's talk about the season right now. Our record is 10-2 and we're in the third round of the Class 2A playoffs. Most people said we wouldn’t make it out the first round — even people in our town. But one thing I can say about us is that we don’t pay attention to what critics say because at the end of the day, you’re always going to have people saying good or bad things about you. We've been on this seven-week journey so we have three more weeks left until we go for our third straight championship title.

I took my second official visit this past weekend down to Death Valley to see the Tigers clinch the Atlantic Division for a spot in the ACC Championship. My time down in Clemson was great. I loved it, especially the game day atmosphere, even though I missed the most exciting 25 seconds of college football with the team running down the hill and touching Howard's Rock. I got a chance to meet a lot of the 2012 recruits who have already committed to Clemson, like Chad Kelly from New York. Later that night, we went out with some of the guys from the team. My host was Cortez Davis, but we all were together so there were other guys like [former ESPNHS cover boy] Stephone Anthony, Sammy Watkins and a bunch of others who were cool.

Clemson seems like a chill, relaxed town. There might not be much to do every day, but I need that because it will keep me focused on my priorities like school and football, which are the two most important reasons I'm in college.

Last week in the playoffs, we beat Northside, the state’s No. 1 Class 2A team which hadn’t lost a game before that point. This week, we’re taking on Holmes, another undefeated team, at their place, so me and the boys are ready for this challenge.

I’m out, world. It was nice getting back with y’all on another blog. Stay tuned for more to come before my big decision on Jan. 3!

My top four schools (in order): Georgia and UNC (tied), Clemson, N.C. State

T. J. Warren joins Wolfpack

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
4:29
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Rodney Purvis and Tyler Lewis gave N.C. State a solid 2012 backcourt with commitments earlier this year. Now, with Wednesday's commitment, forward T.J. Warren has joined the Wolfpack.

Warren, a native of Durham who will play at Brewster Academy (N.H.) this year, pledged to the school where his father played. This addition gives the Wolfpack solid potential for new coach Mark Gottfried and strengthens N.C. State's in-state credibility in a Triangle area dominated by UNC and Duke.

Click here to read more on Warren's commitment.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What's up world!

I have a big rivalry game this Friday against Southwest Edgecombe, so if there’s one game y’all want to come see me play, this will be the game. Me and my teammates always look forward to this game. We expect nothing but greatness from each other and to come out with a win.

We lost our last game in overtime. It turned out to be a three-and-a-half hour game and the final score was 54-48. One thing I can say, though, is we never gave up. We also didn't panic, even when we were down late in the fourth quarter — that's why I love my teammates. I feel like if we play the rest of the season like we did last Friday (minus the turnovers), no team can beat us. Losing is not something that happens to us very often. Our senior class has only lost three games our whole high school career, and two of those losses happened this year. We know what it takes to win close games and be champions, so we just have to stop beating ourselves.

Recruiting is going pretty good. It’s not too stressful but I’ll be glad when its over. But like I always say, I'll only go through it once, so I got to enjoy every moment of it.

I want to also congratulate Georgia coach Mark Richt on his 100th win against Tennessee on Saturday!

Let’s talk about the music I listen to. My favorite rapper is of course Lil Wayne — he’s the best rapper alive. I have other rappers I listen to, like Wale, Meek Mill, Mac Miller, and Lil Boosie, but I listen to all kinds of music: R&B, pop, rock and a little bit of country music.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at TG1UNO. Thanks for helping me get to 1,000 followers!

Top schools (in order): UNC and UGA (tied), Auburn, N.C. State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What's up world!

It's been a busy week. I had two games this past week on Monday and Friday, but I'm thankful we got both of those wins against Northern Nash and Greene Central. Our record is now 5-1 and we play Kinston this week.

This season is so different than last year because we're a younger team. Last year, we were young, but we all grew up hanging around each other all the time. We were all like brothers and always together. I feel this year's team is coming along pretty good. We just have to get our chemistry down, but we're heading in the right direction.

I spent the weekend down in Greenville with my friends and we went to see the ECU vs. UNC game. That was my first time going to a night game and it was wild! The students had a blackout and ECU wore purple jerseys.

As some of you might've heard, I set a date for announcing my college decision. I'm planning on doing it Jan. 3 at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. I figured it'd be cool to make my announcement on TV. [Editor's note: The game is at 6 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network and is expected to include 100 top senior football players.] I still haven't decided which school I'm going to, so stay tuned. Also, I'm not going to be able to take my official visit to Virginia Tech this weekend, but I plan on taking more visits later on.

Now let's talk about my favorite football teams. In college, I like the LSU Tigers, even though they didn't recruit me. I still like them...but then again, I'm still a little mad they didn't recruit me. Lol. But I'm just a huge fan of Les Miles. As for NFL teams, I have two favorites. Of course, my number one is my hometown favorite, Baltimore Ravens. My second team is the Tampa Bay Bucs. I've always liked them since I was young, growing up watching guys like Keyshawn Johnson, Warrick Dunn, Warren Sapp and Mike Alstott.

Well, that's it for now. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TG1UNO; I'm still trying to get to 1,000 followers!

My top schools (in order): UNC and Georgia (tied for first), N.C. State, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Clemson.

Purvis picks Wolfpack

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
2:48
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Apparently for Rodney Purvis, there's no place like home. The Upper Room Christian guard chose to remain in state and in town by committing to N.C. State on Friday. Purvis was also considering UConn, Ohio State, Memphis and N.C. Central.

For more on Purvis' decision, check out this story by ESPNHS basketball editor Jason Jordan.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Purvis to announce college decision Friday

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
12:36
PM ET
The big day has finally arrived for Rodney Purvis.

The Upper Room Christian senior guard will announce his college choice 2:30 p.m. Friday at his school, with UConn, Ohio State, N.C. State, N.C. Central and Memphis among his choices.

Click here to read Purvis' latest blog where he breaks down his thoughts on each school and of course check back in this space tomorrow to see which program won Purvis' services.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What's going on, world!

So they cancelled our game again on Friday against Northern Nash due to the weather, but tell me why it didn't even rain last night?! So now we have two games next week on Monday and Friday (against Greene Central), but it doesn't matter because me and my boys are just ready play some football. The crazy thing is that this is our fifth game of the season but only our first home game, so we are really pumped up to finally play at home. The last time we played at home was Dec. 3 in the fourth round of the 2A playoffs against East Bladen, which was the same team we faced the year before.

I've decided to play in the USA vs the World game on Feb. 1 (which is National Signing Day) in Austin, Texas. The reason I picked that game is because of this past summer when I ran with the USA in the World Youth Championships in France. I met lifetime friends there and made memories I will never forget, so I feel this will also be another moment to make some great memories.

People asked me how I feel about UNC taking action this week and punishing themselves but I haven't really thought about it much. [Note: In response to a recent agent scandal and anticipation of an NCAA hearing, UNC vacated its 16 wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, docked itself three scholarships for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons, placed itself on two years probation and fined itself $50,000.] It's not that big of a deal to me right now, but if the NCAA was to keep the punishment that UNC gave itself, then I'm pretty cool with that. My main thing is to go to a school where I can be a part of the run to a bowl game. But for now, I'll just have to sit back and wait until the investigation is over.

So you all can get to know me better, let's talk some about food. I kind of eat anything; I'm not really a picky eater. But when I'm home, the best thing to cook is pizza and hot wings. Lol. It's a quick way to cook — just put it right in the oven. If you ever come to Tarboro, you have to try some of my friend's parents' dip. It's the best, and me and all my friends love when they make it. I haven't figured out the recipe yet, but they told my mom so I'm glad she can make it for me every week now.

Well, that's it for this week, world. Catch you guys next time.

My top schools (in order): UNC, Georgia, Va. Tech, N.C. State, Auburn and Clemson.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What's going on, world!

This past weekend, I took my first official visit down to UGA to see them play South Carolina. Of course, you know Georgia didn't win, but just to go and see my first Bulldog (and SEC) game was amazing. The atmosphere of the game was live, and to see all those people dressed in red at the game was impressive.

My official visit was mostly like my unofficial one, except this time my parents were with me, so I could actually show them why I was considering Georgia so much. Before we even left Athens, they could see why.

It was a long weekend. I had a game Friday night against North Edgecombe, which we won 46-6; then, about an hour later, we hit the road to drive almost seven hours to Athens. We got a couple hours of rest, but before we knew it, we were starting the day off.

We had some time to talk to the athletic director, who obviously thinks very highly of the school and the way coach Mark Richt handles things.

After the game, we spent time with our hosts, redshirt freshmen Jay Rome and Justin Scott-Wesley. We got to ask them some questions and they kept it straight up with us. Later, we went downtown for a little while and it was live. There had to be about 3,000 people out there, so that was cool to see that they like to party out there in Athens.

The best part about the visit was going back to the cafe because I've been waiting to go back since my last visit. That’s plus for UGA because I think they have the best cafe in country; the food is the best.

The other good part was going to have dinner at coach Richt’s house. Just sitting down and talking with him and my family was cool. My little brother was playing with his sons, David and Zach, having a good time. Even my little brother loved Georgia and he’s only 5 years old.

I think a lot of Coach Richt. He’s very good person and also a family man. Those are things I look for in a coach because he knows what’s its like to be with kids and treat his players like a family.

My visit was good and I will definitely be back in Athens for another Saturday game. Thanks to all the fans who showed me love and havebeen supporting me through this recruiting process.

I've set my next official visit to Virginia Tech on Oct. 8 when they host Miami so I'll be looking forward to that visit as well.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TG1UNO. I’m close to 1,000 followers, so please help me out. Thank you! I’m out, world!

My top six schools (in order): UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Auburn and Clemson.

Twinterview with K'Hadree Hooker

September, 8, 2011
9/08/11
4:52
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On K'Hadree Hooker's Facebook page, it says his place of employment is "on the football field." Trust me, the South Lenoir star isn't lying.

Fresh off a junior campaign of 79 tackles and seven sacks, the senior defensive lineman has continued to wreak havoc on the football field this season for the 2-1 Blue Devils. Hooker joined me for a "Twinterview" (an interview in the format of a Twitter conversation) this week to discuss the season, his commitment to N.C. State, meeting up with Mario Williams and his unique pre-game ritual.

@bighook74 How do you feel your team is doing so far this year?
@brandoncparker In my opinion, I think we're doing pretty good. We've got a young team, but we work hard and I think we're going to surprise a lot of people.

@bighook74 What would you say has made you so successful in football?
@brandoncparker I study film a lot. Also, I played fullback as a freshman and played basketball up until this year, so that helped with my quickness off the line. I still want to get better at my pass rushing, though.

@bighook74 So how'd you go from fullback to playing on the defensive line?
@brandoncparker I came in at about 230 pounds and after my freshman year, my coach said he needed a lineman and moving there would be my best chance to play at the next level. So I put on about 50 pounds just getting in the weight room and eating right.

@bighook74 Of course, you committed to N.C. State recently, but before then, what was the recruiting process like?
@brandoncparker It picked up my sophomore year and it really got out of control in my junior year. It was wild, but a good experience. I got handwritten letters and cards in the mail from coaches wanting me to come visit. I got about 20 letters in the mail every day for a good while.

@bighook74 On Facebook, I saw a picture of you in an Auburn jersey standing next to the BCS championship trophy. What was it like to see that?
@brandoncparker Oh man, that was an awesome experience. It makes you want to get one so bad. I remember telling my mom after that that I had to get that trophy.

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Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.

What’s up, world! It’s your boy, Todd Gurley

This past week, we had to face Hurricane Irene, which destroyed the town and school pretty bad in Tarboro. The power was out for a couple days and most people didn’t get it back on until Tuesday. But other than that, we’re just blessed to be alive.

This past weekend I took an unofficial visit to UNC with my boys Ryan, Jacob, and Deshan to see them Tar Heels play against James Madison. It was my first UNC football game and second college football game ever. The atmosphere was pretty good, which I expected it to be. I've gone to a UNC basketball game before and it was similar. But if there's one thing you don't know about me, I'm a huge Duke basketball fan. That will always remain the same, no matter which college I go to.

I'm just ready to get the season started again on Friday against one of our county rivals, North Edgecombe. We were supposed to play last Friday, but due to the conditions of my school, the game was canceled and rescheduled for Sept. 23. Me and my teammates are just hungry to get back on the field Friday and show what we've been working for all summer.

I will be taking my first official visit this weekend to Georgia with my parents. We’re looking forward to getting down to Athens and watching them Dawgs bounce back from the loss against Boise State and hopefully get a win versus South Carolina. Also my boy, Keith Marshall [a star running back at Millbrook] will be taking an official visit down in Athens that same weekend.

I’m going to set up a few more visits soon and I’ll be talking about them here on my blog, so stay tuned for that. I know for a fact that I’ll be taking official visits to Virginia Tech and Auburn.

As far as recruiting, I’m just enjoying the whole process. You only go through it once, so I’m making the best of it. Right now, though, I’m just really focusing on my senior season and trying to win our third state championship.

I'd like to take this opportunity to shout out [Tarboro assistant] coach Cox, who had hip surgery last week. Please keep him in your prayers to get well soon so he can get back on the field with us this season.

OK, peace out world. I'm about to get my head in these books. Once again, I appreciate everyone reading this. Go Vikings!

My top six schools (in order): UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Auburn, Clemson

Purvis reopens recruitment

September, 1, 2011
9/01/11
1:00
PM ET
Fresh off an impressive showing at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 in Cali (including one-on-one battles with Kemba Walker AND John Wall), Upper Room Christian's Rodney Purvis refocused his basketball recruitment.

You might remember that Purvis had committed to Louisville earlier this year before decommitting when assistant Tim Fuller departed for Missouri. The new list for the No. 16 senior in the ESPNU 100 features eight schools, including UConn, N.C. State and Virginia Commonwealth.

Notably gone is Duke, which dropped from consideration after a recent talk between Purvis and Coach K. Click here to find out why along with much more in Purvis' ESPNHS blog, set up by my man (and ESPNHS basketball editor) Jason Jordan (@JayJayESPN).

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
Todd Gurley, a senior at Tarboro, is one of the top-rated running backs in the nation, possessing the ability to play multiple positions. As a highly sought-after recruit with offers from the likes of Auburn, UNC, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson, Gurley agreed to chronicle his senior season and recruiting experience through a weekly diary with ESPNHS.
Note: Starting Sept. 5, Gurley's entries will run every Monday


What's up, everyone? It's your boy Todd Gurley, but whenever you see me, you can call me TG. I play football for Tarboro High School, the two-time defending Class 2A state champions and home of legends Kelvin Bryant and Shaun Draughn. Both played running back at UNC.

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Marshall, Humphries headline All-State football team

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
11:45
AM ET
As featured in the new ESPNHS North Carolina magazine hitting schools this week, here's our All-State Football Team along with 65 other players to watch.
(The team is based on projected on-field performance and accomplishments, not necessarily recruiting potential. For a list of the top football recruits in the state, click here)

Want to see the All-State teams for the other 49 states? We've got 'em right here.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

Riley Ferguson, Butler, QB, Junior
Threw for 21 TDs and led Butler to 4AA title in first year as a starter

Jela Duncan, Mallard Creek, RB, Senior
Ran for 1,350 yards and 22 touchdowns in breakout junior campaign

Todd Gurley, Taboro, RB, Senior
Scored 30 all-purpose touchdowns during Vikings’ 2A title run

Keith Marshall, Millbrook, RB, Senior
Ranked No. 6 in ESPNU150; rushed for 1,539 yards as a junior

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