Terrion Arnold, one of few remaining UF targets in 2021 class, details recruitment after visiting over weekend

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
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Tallahassee St. John Paul II safety Terrion Arnold.

Terrion Arnold, one of the top-ranked prospects in the 2021 class and one of the few uncommitted prospects remaining on UF’s football recruiting board, made the trip from Tallahassee to Gainesville for Florida’s game vs. LSU, marking Arnold’s first visit to campus since the COVID-19 pandemic altered the recruiting landscape for the foreseeable future. 

The safety's (6-foot, 180 pounds,John Paul II Catholic High) last unofficial visit to Gainesville was all the way back in March for Florida’s final Junior Day prior to the shutdown, and Saturday’s trip didn’t compare when it came to communicating in-person — no surprise considering the ongoing pandemic and the ban on official visits for the foreseeable future. 

“The main thing is they can’t communicate with me, can’t dap them up, can’t talk to them,” Arnold said of Saturday’s visit. “They got to talk to me on the phone, so it’s interaction, but it’s not, like, interaction all the way.”

He wasn’t alone, however. 

Arnold was joined by another prospect on the market, linebacker Xavian Sorey, rather than his immediate family. 

The two Class of 2021 defensive playmakers have Florida on their list of final teams as they look to finalize respective collegiate decisions in the coming weeks, and it’s long been assumed Arnold and Sorey would team up at the next level, especially after a plan to play together as seniors didn’t materialize. 

But with Sorey planning on signing Wednesday and enrolling early, it isn’t a foregone conclusion the pair end up as teammates in college despite all the speculation. 

“We started talking about it six months ago, because we’re from the same area,” Arnold said. “People get it confused, saying like we’re a package deal or something like that. We aren’t no package deal, it’s just if we play together, we play together. If we play against each other, we play against each other, so.” 

Prospects of their stature — Arnold is ranked the No. 2 safety and No. 26 overall player by 247Sports, while Sorey is a five-star and the No. 1 outside linebacker in 247Sports’ composite rankings — more often than not do not end up signing with the same highly ranked program when it gets this late in the process, with the most common reason being a lack of space in the final stretch. 

Arnold and Sorey may still be an exception to the rule, but it’s far from a given, especially with the latter just days away from finalizing his future. 

Although there’s an outside chance he does sign by Friday, Arnold, who has aspirations of playing collegiate basketball at the next level as well, will use the January window to narrow down his list before signing in the traditional date in early February. 

Before that happens, he said he’ll “absolutely” be back in Gainesville one more time before making a decision.

“I’m signing late,” Arnold said, “and I might narrow it down to three programs. We’ll see.”

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