Saturday , July 13 2024

Rivals Roundtable: Five-star DT Justus Terry Reopens His Recruitment

Recruiting never takes a break, and as we dip deeper into the summer the twists and turns are starting to take shape.

One of the biggest off-season surprises was five-star DT Justus Terry‘s decision to commit to USC. Terry, who holds offers from national powerhouses nationwide, was one of a handful of early dominoes to tip in favor of the Trojans after Lincoln Riley tabbed Eric Henderson to be the new DL coach.

Henderson was coming off a Super Bowl stint with the Los Angeles Rams, where he worked hand-in-hand with Canton-bound DL Aaron Donald.

Three months later, the shine of that early USC commitment faded. In between, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the Rivals250 for the 2025 cycle has made a string of visits to other schools, including back to Georgia. Florida State and Alabama are two more notable programs that have been linked to the 6-foot-5, 275-pound interior defensive lineman from Manchester (Ga.) High School in Georgia.

After reopening his recruitment, here is the Rivals Roundtable of reactions from national and team vantage points:

What has long been predicted – that Terry loved his visit in the spring to USC and committed on a whim only to come back home months later and realize he wanted to play somewhere in the Southeast – has now come full circle as the five-star defensive tackle has reopened his recruitment again. Georgia is slightly closer than Alabama and Florida State but not by a big enough margin to have distance play a significant factor in this decision. My current read is that he was at Florida State last weekend and he’s going to Alabama to close out June but that his best and longest-lasting relationships are in Athens and at some point he will re-commit to the Bulldogs.

“When Terry flipped his commitment from Georgia to USC shortly after his trip to Los Angeles in late March there was some healthy skepticism that it would last until signing day. Almost immediately there was talk that this felt very much like Mykel Williams, the former five-star from Georgia who did a similar thing a couple recruiting cycles ago. That has come to fruition. And just like Williams, who ended up playing for the Bulldogs, my sense is that Terry will hear other schools out and really like what he sees at Florida State and Alabama but the safe bet is at Georgia where he can be developed to be a first-round NFL Draft pick and my guess is he signs with the Bulldogs in the end.”

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–Adam Gorney, National Recruiting Director

“USC’s Eric Henderson put the entire country on notice when he scooped up commitments from elite Peach State defensive linemen Justus Terry and Isaiah Gibson back in March, but over the past 24 hours, both blue-chippers have reopened their recruitments. The truth is: it’s not surprising. This feels like it’s been a long time coming, as both Terry and Gibson have continued to explore other options, and in particular, schools like Georgia and others across the SEC have been right in the thick of it — and shortly after giving the verbal pact to the Trojans this spring.

“Terry just officially visited Florida State and is reportedly going to hit Alabama this weekend, and he officially visited Georgia earlier this month, and we already know how familiar he is with Athens. Gibson has made official visits to Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia, with Oklahoma and Ohio State on deck. Right now, I’d anticipate a slew of schools shoot their shots with both Terry and Gibson, but the Dawgs have longevity and connections on their side. It’s fair to look at them as the early team to watch with both Terry and Gibson out of their backyard.”

–Sam Spiegelman, National Recruiting Analyst

“‘Less than three months’ was the answer to the question pepperd into my inbox back in March when Justus Terry flipped from Georgia to USC. Many wondered how long it would last, if the pledge was a spur-of-the-moment deal or even the product of a visit high. Even with the revamped coaching staff in LA, complete with NFL veteran coach Eric Henderson and who knows how much career and/or NIL support to go along with it — it’s not easy to win five-star trench battles in the South. Terry’s decommitment follows that of fellow Peach State star Isaiah Gibson, who also committed during that spring weekend in L.A. Fellow blue-chipper Elijah Griffin and several others making trips out West at that point were on Trojan commitment watch as momentum spurred with defensive recruits. While a blue blood would rarely say no to these pledges, accepting them before official visit season was always going to become a risk — just like any return trip to campus. USC was just two days out from hosting Terry for an official visit, and now that won’t happen. Instead, he’ll return to the program he always viewed as the top threat to Georgia — Alabama. Of course UGA remains in the thick of the race and has hosted multiple times since the decommitment, as has relatively close ACC power Florida State. It appears that trio will slug it out for the top-ranked interior defensive lineman in the country.

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“One of two things should happen going forward with the five-star. On one hand, he’s been making the visit rounds to the programs long linked to his name and should have a clear picture between the top trio after spending the weekend in Tuscaloosa. It wouldn’t surprise to see a quick turnaround in making a new pledge between the three, with Georgia the in-state favorite (again) and UA the longtime threat with the benefit of the final visit. Or can FSU pull the upset? Either way, a return to the SEC/ACC footprint could come in short order.

The other scenario, which is probably less likely, is that Terry considers this decommitment as a total recruiting reset. His last transition didn’t last long and it was an abrupt flip from one coast to the other. Could that cause him to want to take some time and really vet the top options, and possibly more as the 2024 college football season gets going? I’m sure that scenario is being advised to the impressive defender, who every program would of course await word on his decision as late as Terry would consider it — even if it stretches to the Early Signing Period in December. “

–John Garcia, National Recruiting Analyst

“Even when Terry committed to USC, we were skeptical it would last until signing day. He has made a pair of visits to Georgia since committing, including an official visit May 31 – June 2. The Bulldogs have been consistent in their messaging that this recruitment is a marathon for them. That has resonated with Terry. All the factors that caused Terry to commit to Georgia in the first place are also still in place, including a very strong relationship with defensive line coach Tray Scott. I predict Terry will sign with Georgia.”

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–Jed May,

“USC has now lost two Georgia defensive lineman in Terry and Isaiah Gibson. Both were taking visits elsewhere this summer, but neither had plans to come to Tuscaloosa until it was reported that Terry will head there this weekend. Despite extensive interest elsewhere, Alabama is making an aggressive move to insert itself back into the mix to land the five-star talent. The Crimson Tide only has two defensive line commits — Antonio Coleman and London Simmons — and will certainly accommodate a player with Terry’s talent. Alabama has ground to make up here so this official visit will be a crucial gauge of where Alabama stands. Going off of recent momentum, however, I currently predict Terry will land at Georgia.”

–Jack Knowlton,

“The timing of Terry’s decommitment from USC, less than 72 hours after his official visit ended with Florida State, will have the Seminoles fan base full of optimism about a potential flip. And the Seminoles have taken some of the best players out of the Peach State since Mike Norvell took over the programs. They landed Luke Kromenhoek, Kam Davis and Landen Thomas from Georgia in their last class and the Bulldogs would have taken all three of them including making a late and very hard push for Kromenhoek last December. So, FSU can compete with Georgia for the state’s best recruits.

“Certainly, you have to think that his visit to FSU played a part in his decision. So, FSU certainly has a chance, even if it’s a puncher chance. Now, reports are that an Alabama official visit could take place this weekend. I still think Georgia leads but in the era of NIL, anything is possible.”

Patrick Burnham,

El deporte es una actividad física que se realiza con el objetivo de mantener la salud, mejorar la forma física o competir. Puede involucrar una amplia variedad de actividades, como correr, nadar, jugar al fútbol o practicar deportes de equipo. El deporte no solo beneficia el cuerpo, sino que también promueve la camaradería, la disciplina y el espíritu competitivo en las personas. Es una parte importante de la vida para muchas personas en todo el mundo.

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