Watch List RB Autry down, but not out

During the GHSA AAAAAA semi-final game against Colquitt County, Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) went down with an what appeared to be a serious knee injury. After the Blue Devils clinched a spot in the championship game, the 2014 athlete said he was hopeful it was nothing major.

“It feels fine, I think it is just a sprain,” Autry said at the time. “I know I will be fine to play next week at the Georgia Dome.”

He was half right. On Tuesday, Autry was informed by doctors he had suffered a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus, and that he would likely be out until next August. A day later, the 6-foot, 175-pound junior, who has picked up almost 20 offers to date, told Norcross head coach Keith Maloof he wanted to play in Saturday’s championship game against Lovejoy.

“I wanted to play,” Autry said. “I played all 14 games with them, why not play 15. Coach Maloof said if I thought I could play then play. I went to the doctor and they drained my knee and put medicine in it. They said I could not tear my ACL anymore because it was gone...and because I had so much muscle in my quad, really the only risk was me bruising my meniscus more.”

Although he was not part of the overall gameplan, in the second half Autry was put into the game for about 14 snaps as a decoy. With the Blue Devils driving down the field trailing 14-3 in the fourth quarter, Autry asked for the ball.

“I felt like I could make a play,” Autry said. “I caught the ball and scored. It felt good to give my team momentum and boost them up when they needed me. My knee did not bother me at all during the game. It was really all mental, so I just focused on trying to help my team like I usually do.”

Several college coaches were on the sideline watching Autry, some of whom have extended early offers to the 2014 ESPN Watch List selection, who rushed for 560 yards and six touchdowns, had 625 yards receiving and nine touchdowns along with 440 yards and four touchdowns coming on punt returns. Ohio State was in Autry’s top group a month ago, but he did not expect to see their head coach at the Georgia Dome Saturday.

“It was surprising to see Urban Meyer because I did not know he would be there,” Autry said. “I was shocked to see him when we came out for warmups.”

A few weeks ago, Autry was informed that he had an offer from the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs running backs coach was also in attendance to see Autry’s gutsy performance.

“Bryan McClendon told me good luck and to show out,” Autry said. “It was good to see him there, as I did not know he would be there either. He came to my school last week and he wanted to make sure I knew I had an offer. That was shocking and it made me feel good. The Georgia offer means a lot. I went to visit them when they played Tennessee and I think Athens is a great place. The atmosphere and fans are crazy and their coaches are cool. Georgia is a good school and they will definitely be in my top five when that comes out.”

One of his teammates, ESPN 150 running back Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), is heavily considering Georgia, along with Alabama and Oregon. Autry feels the Bulldogs have a solid chance to add the Under Armour All-America Game selection.

“Being around Alvin all of the time, I can tell he likes UGA a lot,” Autry said. “How he acts, I can say he likes Georgia a lot. We talked about playing together in college about two weeks ago.”

The Crimson Tide also had a coach watching Kamara and Autry play Saturday, and he spoke candidly to the junior running back.

“Kirby Smart came up to me after the game and told me I had some nuts to go out there and play without ligaments in my knee just because I knew my team needed me,” Autry said.

Other prominent Southeastern Conference programs like South Carolina and Florida have offered Autry recently as well.

“I like South Carolina a lot and I watched Marcus Lattimore all of the time,” Autry said. “He is a great back. I will probably visit because it is a nice school. “I got an offer from Florida and that is a great school. I have heard they have a beautiful campus. When I think of Florida I think of Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. I need to go check them out.”

Last month, Autry named a top three of Ohio State, LSU and Oregon. When new offers started pouring in, Autry realized it was probably best to hold off on such a statement.

“It is way too early to have a top group,” Autry said. “All of these schools keep offering so I need to just stay open-minded for right now and plan to come back 10 times quicker, faster and stronger.”