Boys' Latin tackle Pyke commits to Georgia
Greg Pyke was on his way to make a visit to Virginia Tech Thursday, when the Boys' Latin senior offensive tackle and his parents heard a report on the radio about a man carrying a gun at the Blacksburg campus.
With the school on lockdown, and the memory of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech on his mind, Pyke never made it to Blacksburg.
Instead, he and his parents continued down to the University of Georgia, where the coveted recruit gave his commitment Friday.
"[Thursday] we were on the way down, and we heard on the radio that there was a guy with a gun," Pyke said. "We called the [Virginia Tech] coaches, and they told us that the school was on lockdown. Obviously they take that very seriously because of what happened four years ago. So we told them it was probably best if we just rescheduled, and we just kept on going down to Georgia."
There, Pyke felt at home, and he made his commitment.
"The campus, the coaches, the atmosphere. Coming from a small school like Boys' Latin, to be able to compete at the SEC level was definitely a factor," said Pyke, who has family in Georgia and was also considering Maryland and Penn State.
Pyke -- who spoke on the phone Friday evening while watching Georgia practice -- said he "had a feeling" he was going to commit to the Bulldogs when he arrived at the Athens campus, which he had already previously visited. Boys' Latin coach Ritchie Schell said Pyke was already "smitten" with Georgia, so he didn't feel that the gun scare at Virginia Tech (police never found a gunman) was the deciding factor.
The opportunity to compete for playing time as a freshman was a key factor, though. Pyke said he was told by Georgia's coaches he'd likely get that chance because the Bulldogs are expected to lose five senior linemen to graduation.
Up until this summer, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Pyke wasn't even squarely on Georgia's radar.
Schell said he sent film to the school and didn't hear a response. But when Pyke showed up at a Georgia camp this June, Schell said it didn't take more than an hour before the Bulldogs were offering Pyke a scholarship.
Pyke is a also Division I caliber lacrosse player. He said Friday that he'll likely continue to play both lacrosse and basketball this school year, but after that his focus will shift to football.
When he does, Schell said he doesn't expect his player to have any trouble adapting to what's widely believed to be the most competitive conference in the country.
"He's one of those kids who come around once in a lifetime," Schell said. "The kid moves like a gazelle, and he's nasty, too. He can play. He can play down there."
Photo of Greg Pyke by Lloyd Fox / The Baltimore Sun / May 25, 2011