ATHENS, Ga. - Tramel Terry is brutally honest. He uses his media sessions as almost a therapy session, unloading his worries and hopes. That’s especially the case for the events of last year.
“I never thought that was how my first year was going to be,” Terry said. “It was, and it’s who I am, and it’s gonna be with me for the rest of my life.”
Early into his second year at Georgia, it’s also very different than Terry imagined. This time, however the football player hopes that’s a good thing.
Once a key part of Georgia’s future plans at receiver, Terry tore his ACL in a high school all-star game, in December of 2012. He enrolled early at Georgia a month later, but spent spring practice rehabbing, and his knee wasn’t healed enough to take the field last season. He took a redshirt.
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Then came another twist: Defensive coaches asked if he’d be interested in moving to safety.
“I was all for it,” Terry said Thursday. “I always said when I was a recruit I would play anything my coaches wanted me to.”
So Terry made the move, which he admits was partly due to his health and the depth chart at receiver. His quickness off the line wasn’t what it was prior to the knee surgery, which was on his left knee. Then his right knee started to experience tendinitis, a result of overcompensating for the injury.
“I was just frustrated during last season. I didn’t get recovered like I wanted to. So I was willing to do anything. And I felt like safety was a good move for me, just because of my body type,” Terry said. “We got plenty of receivers who are capable of doing it. I just felt like it was an opportunity to do something different. I figured if I learned some defense maybe in the future I could play both ways.”
Like Brandon Boykin, who was the team’s top cornerback for two years while dabbling successfully on offense. Coaches compared Terry to Boykin even before the move to defense.
“When I got hurt, my confidence went down,” Terry said. “So I’m just trying to find my swagger back. That winning spirit I used to have. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’ve got it. Because I’m constantly trying to prove myself, on why I miss football, on why I got a scholarship to the University of Georgia. I’m doing better with just playing, just learning, and just putting it in God’s hands.”
Right now it’s not clear how well the move to defense is going. Terry has yet to crack the first team, or even have much time on second team, despite new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt’s day-to-day movement on the depth chart.
It could be Terry is having trouble getting used to safety, where he didn’t play much in high school. By contrast J.J. Green, who played tailback last year but has vaulted to first-team this spring at the star position, played mostly defense in high school.
But Terry swears he’ll be ready after spring, and won’t be too raw on defense to play against Clemson.
“I’ve just gotta keep learning,” he said. “It’s not hard. Everything is real simple. (Pruitt) puts it all on the table. I’ll be ready by the season. I’ll be one of coach Pruitt’s guys.”