UGA lost its longtime commit at running back in this year’s class after a surprising turn of events.
Chris Carson switched his commitment from UGA to Oklahoma State on Monday, less than 24 hours after publicly confirming his intentions to sign with the Bulldogs.
Carson, who starred at Parkview High School andjust finished his second season at Butler junior college, had been pledged to the Bulldogs since last summer.
Here’s a Q&A with Carson:
What happened after you publicly re-affirmed your commitment to UGA? “After I made my decision to stick with UGA and told everybody about it, something just didn’t sit well with me about it. I talked to my family some more, and something in my gut told me that Oklahoma State was the best fit for me. It’s just the fact that they’re thin at running back. I’ve only got two seasons to make something happen, to possibly get myself to the NFL Draft. There was a big opportunity at Oklahoma State. Why risk that by going UGA? Nick Chubb is already established at running back there.”
How did your change of plans go over with UGA? “Sunday night, I told (UGA running backs coach Bryan McClendon) how things weren’t sitting well with me — and with my family situation, the NFL is the best way out. I’ve got to take advantage of the best opportunity to get to me to that level. I ended telling Coach McClendon that I wanted to de-commit and take that opportunity at Oklahoma State.”
What was McClendon’s reaction? “At first, he was shaken up by what I said. But he said he understood. He didn’t really try to talk me out of it during the phone call. He just said ‘Think about it.’ He was like ‘Coach Richt and the rest of the coaches are going to be hitting you up tomorrow (Monday).’”
Did UGA call you on Monday? “I haven’t checked all of my messages but I haven’t talked to anybody from Georgia so far today.”
What was Oklahoma State’s reaction? “Coach (Mike) Gundy was happy and excited. I talked to him a lot over the next two weeks. He wanted to make sure I was making the best decision for myself. He knew I was stressed about this whole decision. It was a back-and-forth battle between the two schools.”
Since you’re from Atlanta, some people disappointed that you’re not coming back this way to play for UGA. What would you say to make them understand why you did what you did? “I’m not concerned with what other people out there are saying. The people that really know me and know my situation, including my family being homeless for a while … they know I need to get to the NFL. That’s probably the best way out for my family. They understand the reason for my decision, and they know that Oklahoma State is the best way for me to try to achieve that goal.”
How is your family doing? “We’re struggling financially. Our house in Lilburn burned down the day after Christmas last year. We’ve been living in hotels and stuff like that. Right now, we’re renting out a house, and we don’t know how long we can afford to rent that out. We’ve been like this for about a year now. It’s me, my parents and my little brother. We’re just real low on money right now.”
Any chance you change your mind before signing day? “I’m set with Oklahoma State. That’s where I’m signing at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.”
UPDATE: Less than six hours after Carson’s change of heart, UGA filled his spot by flipping a running back that was committed to Georgia Southern. Harris County High School’s Tae Crowder got a UGA offer after a phone call out of the blue at 8 p.m. Monday. He committed on the spot — without ever visiting UGA.
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