How Close was Los Angeles Rams Star Todd Gurley to Playing For UNC?

How Close was Los Angeles Rams Star Todd Gurley to Playing For UNC?

Former Tarboro High School star Todd Gurley is one of the best players in the NFL today.

A three-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, Gurley is now aiming for another title to add to that list: Super Bowl champion.

Gurley and the Los Angeles Rams take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta on Sunday, not far from where Gurley played his college career at the University of Georgia in Athens.

But Gurley, who is from North Carolina, nearly ended up at UNC instead of Georgia.

Jeff Craddock, Tarboro’s varsity football coach, spoke on the David Glenn Show about Gurley’s recruitment in high school and how mishaps by UNC and NC State allowed for Georgia to come in and earn his signature.

“NC State at that time, kind of bungled his name when they first came in for the recruiting pitch,” Craddock said. “And so that kinda just struck him as odd that they didn’t even really know what his name was. So that kind of turned him off right away.”

During Gurley’s recruitment, UNC dealt with NCAA investigations over improper benefits and academic misconduct that ultimately led to the school terminating head coach Butch Davis.

“He was going to go to Carolina,” Craddock said. “And Carolina fired coach Butch Davis. And he called me up and said, listen, coach, I’m not going to Carolina now, I’m going to explore some other options.”

Craddock said that Gurley’s interest in North Carolina stemmed from his relationship with Shaun Draughn and Kelvin Bryant, both former Tarboro running backs who played in Chapel Hill.

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During his recruitment, Gurley wrote a recruiting diary for ESPN with his thoughts about each school he visited. During his visit to UNC, he said the atmosphere was “pretty good,” but that he would remain a Duke basketball fan regardless of his college choice.

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.

Gurley’s 247Sports recruiting page shows that he took several unofficial visits to Chapel Hill, but only took official visits to Georgia, NC State and Clemson before ultimately committing to the Bulldogs.

“Trust me, Coach Fedora tried his best to get in touch with Todd, but Todd was adamant, ‘I’m not going to Carolina now’ and that’s why he ended up going out of state.”

From there, Gurley’s career has been well-documented. An All-American at Georgia, he was a first round pick by the then-St. Louis Rams and has been a superstar ever since.