TAMPA, Fla. -- After weeks of speculation and hints three-star safety Paris Bostick (Tampa, Fla./Plant) finally made his verbal commitment to Georgia with an announcement Monday at his high school.
Bostick, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, chose the Bulldogs over offers from several programs including Arkansas, South Florida and Louisville. Ultimately the decision came down to Georgia and Arkansas.
“It was a real close choice between those two schools, because they both had a lot of the things I wanted in terms of football,” Bostick said. “However, I chose Georgia based more on the academics and the fact that if football doesn’t work out I know I’ll be in a strong academic environment.”
During Monday’s ceremony, Plant head coach Robert Weiner beamed as much about Bostick’s maturity and academic accomplishments as he did about anything one of his top players had done on the field.
And there’s a good reason for that.
Bostick lost his father, also named Paris Bostick, when he was just seven years old. The elder Bostick was going to travel from Ocala, Fla., to Tampa to pick up his son when he was murdered.
“He was shot four times,” Bostick said. “It was very difficult for me; it’s been difficult for me not to have him around.
“Not living with a father figure, it was tough. Your mom can’t teach you how to be a man because she’s a woman. It took a lot of growing up and soul searching. I had to figure out some things the hard way. I still am figuring out a lot of things. But I have no complaints because I’m here right now and all of these things have made me into the person I am today.”
Bostick describes his mother, who has four children of her own and adopted his two cousins, as a ‘strong woman’ and although they have had their differences there is nothing but love in his family. He lives with guardians George and Anita Spofford, both of whom were in attendance Monday.
Weiner says that Bostick has allowed his life experiences to instill a positive effect on his future.
“In so many cases you see stories of young men where the situation defines them,” Weiner said. “But in Paris’ case he flipped things and he decided that he was going to be defined by his success and his accomplishments.
“In the classroom he has been a terrific student. In the last three semesters he has 18 A’s and 3 B’s. And he takes tough classes.”
On the field Bostick is developing into an intimidating presence in the defensive backfield. As a junior he recorded three interceptions, a sack and more than 60 tackles -- helping Plant to a 14-1 record and the Class 8A championship in Florida.
“I am a lot bigger than people think,” Bostick said after Dawg Night. “I am 6-1, 217 pounds. I am going to try to keep my range between 215 and 220 pounds because I am going to try to keep my speed up while I am back there at strong safety.”
He also played running back, receiver, linebacker, safety and cornerback for Plant -- but his future will likely be at strong safety.
“I think that’s the position where my talent seems to shine the most,” Bostick said Monday. “And I feel like Georgia is the program that can bring the most out of me.”
Bostick is the third player for Plant to commit to Georgia in the last four years joining quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end Orson Charles.
And like Murray and Charles, Bostick said that the people in the Georgia program felt like family.
“Seeing the interaction between the players and coaches it was more than just a team and the players were more than teammates,” Bostick said. “They do so much together whether it’s going out to eat or playing board games or just being like brothers to each other.
“It was a good feeling. It’s a good feeling to know I will be part of that.”
Bostick had almost committed on the heels of Georgia’s Dawg Night in July.
While he might not have let on publicly, Bostick was obviously swayed by the message he heard at Sanford Stadium.
“It is a good environment,” Bostick said then. “The coaching staff was great. The teammates were perfect -- they showed me some major love. A lot of things just fell into place when I went up there. It was a good vibe and I know that was the place I needed to be.
“All of the coaches and assistant coaches were on me. Some of the people that were already on the team said, ‘Man, this is the place to be.’ Some of the commits were telling me, ‘We know who you are. This is where the championship is going to be.’ So it was definitely a good vibe.”
Bostick was impressive at Dawg Night, hauling in a couple of interceptions and repeatedly breaking up passes. He worked at wide receiver, making some tough catches and demonstrating his versatility.
“If they need me on offense, I can play there too,” he said. “I have played offense and defense my whole life, so I wouldn’t shy away from it if they needed me to play a little offense.”
His commitment comes on the heels of a commitment from safety Quincy Mauger (Marietta, Ga./Kell), who was also in top form at Dawg Night in Athens, Ga., and committed a few hours before the event. The Bulldogs also have a commitment from ESPN 150 four-star safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan).
With Bostick, Georgia’s recruiting class is at 25 commitments.