Terrion Arnold's mind is made up
At 4pm ET Wednesday, all will know where elite defensive back Terrion Arnold will play his next football at.
The 6-foot-1, 191 pound All-American out of Tallahassee (Fla.) St. John Paul II is knows which school it is, but do not expect him to drop any hints.
"I recently made my decision, but it is going to stay to myself," said Arnold. "I am not telling any coaches from any of the schools where I am going. All will find out at the same time — on Signing Day."
At times, Florida had the most buzz, then it was Alabama, and Georgia has been a constant throughout the last year, but to make this decision in a year that was far from normal wasn't easy.
"It was extremely tough to make this decision. I saw myself happy at each of my final three. I saw myself making plays at Alabama, Florida and Georgia. I liked coaches at each school.
"I had visions of myself at all three, and I feel I could have been happy at all three, so it was an extremely tough decision to make, but I feel I made the best decision for me."
The way 2020 played out, and rolled into 2021 due to the pandemic, that gave Arnold an opportunity to explore different ways to make his decision. It was now based on that home-feeling, top-notch facilities, or who had the best food on official visits. It was a little deeper than that.
"It has been a crazy year with us not being able to take visits, compete at top camps, not getting that face-to-face time with coaches, and with all those things making it different, it really forced me to look at things differently.
"I had to sit down, look at more of the business aspect of the game, and base my decision on that. I didn't get to take official visits, I didn't get to feel the hype around the schools on campus, and things like that, so I had to go with a totally different approach to this decision.
"I decided to go at this with a business approach, and not as much about relationships or other parts of recruiting that I may have looked at in a normal year."
When talking the "business" approach, what does that entail?
"It came down to who I felt has the best plan for me," said Arnold. "I looked into everything. I had a lot of talks with coaches, I thought about a lot of things, and it came down to who had the best plan for me, and who I felt could best execute that plan with me.
"All the schools called me; told me this, told me that, and that is all great, but I had to see and hear more than that. I had to see the plan, they had to draw their plan up for me, show me the three to four year map for me, and make me believe they could execute that plan.
"I took that to heart, and that is what led me to my decision."
Each coaching staff had multiple staff members involved. But the head coach of each school put in a lot of work to make Arnold's final three, and over the last couple of years, each made strong impressions on the top 50 player.
He speaks highly of the leaders in Tuscaloosa, Gainesville and Athens.
NICK SABAN: "He is a great dude, great coach, and he does the best job at getting the best out of his players. His track record speaks for itself. He keeps studs on the roster, his players have to compete every day, and if you fail to come to work every day, then you will be taken out. I like how coach Saban coaches, and it is as simple as that."
DAN MULLEN: "Coach Mullen knows how to recruit for Florida. He loves Florida guys, and I think he is the ideal coach for the Florida Gators. He is always behind his guys, he defends his players, and I like how genuine he is. He cares about Florida, and that has always made him a coach I like. He wants to make Florida the best it can be, and he knows that starts with players from this state."
KIRBY SMART: "Coach Smart is the most down-to-earth head coach of them all. He is so easy to talk to, he has always made me feel comfortable, and we have such a strong bond. With him, it is not all about football, but about life, how he will help me develop, and he is just so easy to relate to and talk to. I love what coach Smart is all about."
Arnold has taken multiple visits to each school, he admitted his list changed a "few times" over the last few months, but now, he is set, and he is counting down the hours until he gets to make it public.
Now that his decision is made, he is looking ahead to his next stop.
"It is a great feeling to think about Wednesday night, I will be done with this, and be able to share with everyone my decision," said Arnold. "The process has not been easy, and this past year has been a lot to deal with, so now that my is mind up, I am thinking about the future.
"In my mind now, I am ready to sign, then get to work and show everyone that I am who everyone says I am and that I am what the hype is about. I can't wait to show everyone."