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GOOSE CREEK, S.C. -- As Goose Creek (S.C.) wide receiver Tramel Terry stood in front of a picture of A.J. Green at the 2013 American Family Insurance Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game speaking with reporters, the similarities between the two were striking.
Two wide receivers from just outside of Charleston, S.C. -- in fact their high schools are five minutes apart -- both wearing a jersey emblazoned with No. 1; two South Carolina natives headed for the University of Georgia; two Under Armour All-Americans.
Even their recruitments followed a similar path. Both decided to commit to the Bulldogs long before their junior seasons were completed.
|Tramel Terry received his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Friday in Goose Creek, S.C.|
"I was a big fan of A.J. long before he was at Georgia," said Terry, adding that Green is the reason he wears No. 1. "I remember when I was in seventh grade, it was his senior year and he scored four touchdowns on Goose Creek. I remember thinking then that I wanted to be the next great one out of here after him."
Terry started his recruiting process very early, with Clemson offering after his freshman year.
"I went out on the track and ran a 4.39 40[-yard dash], and that is when Clemson offered," said Terry, ranked the No. 42 player in the ESPN 150. "After that is when South Carolina and everybody else offered."
Everybody else except his childhood favorite -- Georgia.
"[UGA coach] Mark Richt came here for a basketball game when he was recruiting Brandon Shell," Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy said. "I introduced him to Tramel, because Tramel told me that Georgia was his school because he has family down there and that was always his school.
"I remember telling Mark Richt at the time that he may not be the next A.J. Green, but he's the next big thing to come along since A.J. Green."
Georgia would eventually offer Terry the summer before his junior year. He decided to visit Athens for Georgia's Dawg Night summer camp and found himself swept away.
"When I go there, it is like another home for me," Terry said. "Once you feel like that, you know that's where you want to go. I knew that last year when I committed."
The commitment surprised Reedy, who normally finds himself pushing for his players to take their time and be sure of themselves in the recruiting process.
"I was out of the country on a trip and had messages from about 10 different writers trying to find out if he committed," said Reedy, himself a former college head coach at Baylor. "I knew it was so early and as soon as I saw him, he knew that he got excited and caught up in the moment. I said, 'Let's take your time. Just look around a little bit and make sure.'"
Terry admitted he was caught up in the flood of commitments Georgia received at Dawg Night and termed himself a soft commitment for several months.
In September 2011, that soft commitment changed to a decommitment as Terry completely changed his thinking.
"When I decommitted, I really thought I was going to South Carolina," Terry said. "I still really wanted to feel out some other places, but South Carolina really felt like it was going to be the place for me. South Carolina was the place I went to my freshman and sophomore years; I went up there, like, 20 times."
Visiting friends and former classmates in Columbia, Terry found himself at a crossroads, but took a step back from recruiting for several months.
"Then when I went back in March, I took my family, and I could feel it then," Terry said. "I had to really think that I couldn't pick my school based on my friends, so I really thought into it, looked into my degree and who is going to get me pro-ready. All of that was Georgia."
"When he came back this time to commit it was still Georgia," Reedy said. "I said that was fine with me, and I'm excited for him."
Terry has not looked back since. In every conversation about Georgia, he uses the terms "we" and "us," knowing that he is as firm as possible in his recommitment.
Even his relationship with A.J. Green is continuing to evolve, with the two connecting on Twitter. Terry even took Green's cousin , T.J., to Athens last Saturday for Georgia's opening game against Buffalo.
Still, while the similarities will undeniably continue, Terry hopes to succeed in a way that people will remember him not for being the next A.J. Green, but for being the first Tramel Terry.