Posted: 1:18 am Thursday, November 24th, 2011
By Matt Porter
After moving back to Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Central defensive end Gabriel Terry waited for teams to notice him, while his teammates and coaches told anyone who would listen: “G.T.” is the real deal.
Terry didn’t take long to back up their talk.
After watching him rip into enemy backfields this season, several BCS programs showed interest. But Terry had two major offers – UConn and Florida International – and was set to visit UConn this weekend with teammate Jhavon Williams, a Huskies commit. Before Terry packed his bags, Miami called.
“They had come to one of my games,” Terry said Wednesday night. “I talked to [tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator] Brandon Carroll a few weeks ago. He said they had six scholarships left and they wanted to meet me in person.”
Terry visited Miami coaches on campus Wednesday evening. He met with head coach Al Golden, who offered him a full ride. Terry spoke to his family and accepted, becoming a surprise member of Miami’s 2012 recruiting class.
“Miami was always at the top of the list,” he said. “I’m from Palm Beach County and I was always a Hurricanes fan. Talking with Coach Golden, where they want to grow the program is where I want to be. The ACC is big-time football.”
Terry, who split time between defensive end and outside linebacker last season, said he is being recruited as an outside linebacker. He put up six sacks, 58 tackles and one interception last season.
“He has all the physical tools,” Seminole Ridge coach Justin Hilliker said in a text message. “Specimen and can run. Body just like Bostic,” he said, referring to Palm Beach Central grad and Florida Gators linebacker Jon Bostic.
“Real talented kid with a great motor,” Palm Beach Gardens coach Chris Davis said.
Terry joins Broncos teammate Angelo Jean-Louis, who committed to the ‘Canes in April.
Terry played youth football in the Western Communities Football League before spending his high school years at Boys Town High in Nebraska. He was a first-team All-Omaha selection and second-team all-state selection in his junior year. He was also a state champion wrestler and competed at state track as a sprinter and 400-relay member.
At first glance, Terry (6-foot-3 and 210 pounds) passed the eye test. In games, his speed (he’s been clocked at 4.56 in the 40-yard dash) and strength showed. He helped the Broncos earn their first playoff berth and was selected to the Nike South Florida All-Star Game.
Because he didn’t have the evidence to send to schools, Terry was a virtual unknown in recruiting circles until this year. After a few games, Broncos coach Rod Harris finally had enough footage to make Terry a highlight reel. “There’s going to be a whole bunch of schools on him,” Harris said in September, after sending Terry’s tape all across the country.
He turned heads in a Sept. 16 game against Palm Beach Gardens when he beat 6-6, 286-pound Gardens left tackle Avery Young one-on-one. “Alabama was there to see Avery, but they were talking to Gabriel afterward,” Broncos linebacker Mike Maldonado said at a September practice.
“My coaches told me to be patient, the offers are going to come,” Terry said.
Terry said he’s glad he waited it out. So is Miami.
“Great kid. So happy he is at his dream school,” Harris said Thursday morning.