ATHENS, Ga. — Every December, the Shrine Bowl pits South Carolina's top high school football talent against the best North Carolina has to offer.
Tramel Terry never got to experience it past the opening kickoff.
"I remember looking down at the grass and realizing that the cleats I had on were too short and were not catching the grass," Terry said this week. "I had tried to change them before the game but could only find one shoe. He kicked it to the right, and I ran to try and pick it up, but when I got it and tried to juke somebody, I slipped.
"I felt my left knee pop, but I got up and started to walk on it. That's when I realized I needed some help."
The 5-foot-11, 193-pounder from Goose Creek, S.C., tore his left ACL, thus halting the momentum from a banner senior season and his decision to enroll early at Georgia. Terry will not be able to compete in spring practice, which begins March 2, but he hopes to be cleared for August workouts.
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson flourished after a similar timetable, and Terry does have the benefit of Georgia's medical staff.
"If I was back home, I would be in physical therapy three times a week," he said. "Here, I'm in the training room every day for three or four hours. If I can focus on all the little things, I feel like I will come back much stronger.
"If I'm not ready, then the smart thing to do is redshirt, but it's too close of a call right now."
Terry had 48 receptions for 792 yards and five touchdowns last fall in leading Goose Creek High to 13 wins in 13 games, and he rushed 113 times for 841 yards and 19 scores. He was rated the No. 8 receiver nationally by 247sports.com and the No. 9 receiver by ESPN.
His hometown is just 15 minutes away from the Summerville residence of former Georgia standout receiver A.J. Green, but Terry sees himself more as a versatile threat similar to former Florida star Percy Harvin and more recently Tavon Austin at West Virginia.
"Tramel is a very multitalented guy," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "He's got running skills and wide receiver skills. Some of the best wide receivers I've ever been around have been running backs in their careers. They're a little bit tougher than most receivers, and they've got some great running skills after the catch."
Adding the beef
Georgia signed four defensive linemen Wednesday, including John Atkins and Chris Mayes, who previously signed with the Bulldogs and have enrolled early. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham expects eight guys to compete for the three positions up front.
"That's about right from a numbers standpoint," Grantham said. "When you look at the SEC championship game, we did a lot of great things in the game, but the bottom line is that in the second half we didn't stop the run. By adding the depth we have right now, I think that can help facilitate that a little bit."
As expected, Grantham interviewed Thursday for the defensive coordinator vacancy with the New Orleans Saints. A former Georgia defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, was hired Thursday as linebackers coach of the New York Jets.
Mayes, who redshirted last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, will be the biggest of Georgia's defensive linemen at 6-4 and 340 pounds.
"We're young and we're still developing," Mayes said Thursday. "We have pressure to produce right away, but I think we can step up to the challenge."
It's been a while
The 32 signees are the most for the Bulldogs since Vince Dooley landed 33 in 1984. Among the '84 signees were quarterbacks James Jackson and Wayne Johnson, tailback Lars Tate and one of the great names in SEC history, defensive lineman Wycliffe Lovelace.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...