Tray Bishop is a detail-oriented thinker. He takes that approach into his dissection of the Xs and Os of football. He used it when evaluating his future position of choice at the college level.
Bishop will carry that same mindset into the final month of his recruitment.
As first reported by 247Sports, the 4-star athlete de-committed from Auburn on Tuesday night, a decision that had been boiling for a few weeks. Bishop decided to use the early stages of the dead period to announce his re-opened recruitment that now includes Georgia and Florida. The initial report indicated Auburn might no longer be in consideration.
Bishop said the Tigers are still contenders.
“Auburn, they were always my favorite school. There’s nothing they did wrong that made me stop liking them. It’s not that,” Bishop told SEC Country. “It’s just that this is my time that I need. Auburn is still in contention. That’s just all it is.”
A Bishop de-commitment has been in the works over the course of the past month as the Gators and Bulldogs have ramped up recruiting efforts for the Terrell County (Ga.) prospect. Once the contact period closed, Bishop spoke with his closest advisors — his parents and coaches — to decide how to best approach the process.
They all agreed that an uncommitted January would allow all three school to most appropriately court the 4-star safety.
“After talking it over with my mom and my dad and my coaches, I felt like that was the best decision for me. I talked to my mom and my dad and coaches and they felt the best thing would be for me to step back, re-evaluate the process,” Bishop said. “My parents, they’ve given the choice to me. They told me that I should step back from it, re-evaluate the process and make sure that everything is good and it’s the place I want to be before I sign any papers. I don’t want to go no where that I won’t be happy at.”
Bishop set up his official visits to all three schools: Georgia on Jan. 14, Auburn on Jan. 21 and Florida on Jan. 28. He said all three will “be crucial” in declaring his final decision, which will likely come on National Signing Day.
All three schools are on equal footing, Bishop said. He said he felt the constraints of his Auburn commitment would affect the way his recruitment took place down the stretch.
“I’m just trying to make sure. I’m looking at everything, recruiting and all. I’m just trying to make sure everything is the right fit. I don’t want nobody telling me this, telling me that, just to try to get me there,” Bishop said. “There’s so much built up in my head that I need to observe.”
Bishop has been a regular visitor of Georgia this season. He took unofficial visits to Georgia on Oct. 1, Oct. 14 and Nov. 26. The in-state pull of Georgia and area recruiter Kevin Sherrer will give the Bulldogs a significant chance down the stretch.
“Looking at UGA. I know they’re losing a lot of people defensively. And I like the atmosphere. I like everything that is going on there. I like what coach Smart is doing,” Bishop said. “With Georgia, that’s my state school. It’s kinda a blessing to be highly recruited by them. I just feel like the atmosphere of the school, if I go there, I’ll enjoy that.”
Florida brings out many of the same emotions for Bishop. He attended games in Gainesville this fall, as well. The U.S. Army Bowl invitee expects it to be tough to separate the pros and cons of Georgia and Florida who made strong enough late pushes to force a de-commitment.
“Florida and Georgia is like the same thing. I want to evaluate everything little thing, so I can get to the bottom of it, so I can get my mind made up where I want to go,” Bishop said. “Coach (Torrian) Gray, coach (Jim) Mac (McElwain). The atmosphere there. Everything is good.”
With his de-commitment, Auburn reverts back to a 17-person class, including long snapper Bill Taylor who expects to blue-shirt. The Tigers drop two spots to No. 10 in the team rankings.