Before Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley was regaining his regular-season form – 1,251 rushing yards this season, third most in the NFL – and even before he became the No. 4 all-time rusher (3,285 yards) in University of Georgia history, Gurley was an elite high school running back with his pick of the litter when it came to his recruitment.
Well, sort of.
Despite his dominance on the gridiron at Tarboro (N.C.) High School, one Power 5 conference school didn’t foresee Gurley’s trajectory back then.
Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock recalled the school, which he declined to name, coming to visit Gurley and posing a perplexing question to him.
“At the time he’d already cut his list to Clemson and Georgia, but he sat down with them anyway,” Craddock said. “They straight-up asked him, ‘Do you think you’re good enough to come play for us?’”
Craddock said that his well-mannered star was caught off guard but collected himself and posed a question of his own.
“He said, ‘Uuuh, yeah, but what makes you think I want to come to your school?’” Craddock said. “Now this is one of the most well-respected programs in the country; they were basically like, ‘Well, if you don’t want to come then maybe we don’t need to be here.’ Todd was pretty nonchalant, as if to say, ‘OK.’ That meeting lasted about two minutes.”
Once Gurley was ready to make his decision, he scheduled a press conference which, naturally, drew a significant amount of media members.
Before he announced, media members took one glance at Gurley’s celebratory cake on the table and began to leak information that he was committing to Clemson because the icing was purple and orange.
“Our school colors are purple and gold and our secretary did purple icing but her gold icing came out looking orange,” Craddock said. “They were actually reporting that he was choosing Clemson because of that cake. When he announced Georgia, they nearly fell to pieces. It was crazy, but he made his pick and the rest is history.”
Despite Gurley’s dismal performance in the Rams’ 26-23 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game, Craddock thoroughly expects Gurley to make more history Sunday.
“Todd will give his best effort and he’ll do whatever Coach (Sean) McVay asks him to do,” Craddock said. “Whatever they ask him he’s gonna do to the best of his ability. That said, the Rams are absolutely gonna win. There’s no question.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY