Terrion Arnold to Alabama: "This was a business decision"
This was a battle, a very heated battle, between three SEC schools.
It was down to Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Terrion Arnold, the All-American defensive back out of Tallahassee (Fla.) St. John Paul II went back and forth a few times late, but on Wednesday, he announced for the Crimson Tide.
“It is all about Alabama’s track record,” said Arnold. “Coach Nick Saban’s track record with Alabama’s players speaks for itself. You have seen guys transfer from Georgia, you have seen players have issues at Florida, and not only does Alabama have a track record with putting players into the NFL, but they keep their players, players stay there an extra year, and the over track record of Alabama under coach Saban is different.
“It was a business decision for me, and Alabama is it for me. What they do, how they do it, and what they produce is different. That was the biggest key for me picking Alabama.”
Georgia was the leader for some time, and even rolling into 2021, the Bulldogs were trending. Kirby Smart was the lead recruiter for Georgia, and all looked to be going well for the Bulldogs until January 11 when Alabama blistered Ohio State 52-24 in the National Championship game.
After that, things slowly started shifting to those in Tuscaloosa.
“That game definitely played a role in my decision. I woke up that morning still feeling Georgia was the school, but I watched that game with my family, and that is really what started to change things for me.
“How they played just stuck with me. I mean, I already knew they were a great team, but seeing that, watching is with my family, and then seriously thinking about what I could do on a team like that gave me a lot to think about with this decision.
“I saw that game, thought about things some more those next few days, and that is really when Alabama started to move up higher for me with Georgia, and then over Georgia. I was leaning strong to Georgia up until just a couple of weeks ago, and then my decision was made here recently to go to Alabama. That game had a lot to do with me changing my mind.”
Of course head coach Nick Saban did too.
He has seven national titles, six of those have come at Alabama, and after talking with Saban often over the past year, and seeing the plan he has in place, Arnold loved the fit.
“About two weeks ago, after a Zoom call with coach Nick Saban, I seriously started to lean towards Alabama,” said Arnold. “The game got me thinking, but when I talked about it with coach Saban, I started to see it more clearly.
“He made it clear to me how much I was wanted, how he held the last spot for me, what I could at Alabama, and that call changed things for me.
“He showed me I have special ability, and that if I didn’t come there, it would be like me doubting my ability. He believes in me, and to hear him say it, and to show me his plan for me, it just showed me I need to be at Alabama.”
This process was difficult for Arnold, and he said his decision was extremely tough, but now that it is behind him, he is thinking about the future in Tuscaloosa.
He has tripped to Alabama three times, and he was there right before things shut down last March. Arnold loves the feeling there, but if you know Arnold, then you probably know what is on his mind now. His focus is not on the championships, but he is just thinking about getting to work against the best.
“Of course I am excited about winning, the culture at Alabama and having the chance to win a National Championship in college, but more than that, I know they will make me better.
“I am excited about Alabama’s player development, how they can prepare me for the NFL, how I will be able to compete against top players every day, and just knowing Alabama will put me where I need to be to be successful is so exciting to think about.
“When you walk on the campus at Alabama, it is different. It is a prestigious environment, and the culture is different, but the players practice differently and the coaches coach differently. That is what makes Alabama different.”
Alabama ran away with the top recruiting class this cycle, and Arnold was the cherry on top. He monitors rankings, he knows who’s in this class with him and he’s happy to be a part of it.
“I am excited about so many things when I think about my time at Alabama, and one is I get to be part of history” said Arnold. “We just signed the best recruiting class ever. This class is special, and we will win together at Alabama.
“The guys in this class will make me better. I will make them better. We just made history together.”