COC defensive end Dorian Gerald chooses Arkansas

Dorian Gerald during the Cougars' game vs. Ventura College on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 -- Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information

When it came to choosing a four-year college home, College of the Canyons defensive end Dorian Gerald went with his heart.

In his home state of South Carolina, surrounded by family, Gerald was faced with a bag that held hats representing each of the schools he could pick from.

“I didn’t make a decision before I sat down at the table,” he said. “My job was to pull whatever hat. I said a prayer and whatever feeling I got from that, I was just going to go with that school. I said a prayer, I dug in the bag and my mind felt Arkansas.”

Gerald, the No. 1 defensive end in the country according to, had offers from 26 NCAA Division 1 schools, but said he had narrowed his choices down to Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas shortly before a final decision had to be made.

He was originally committed to Tennessee, but decommitted in mid-November after the firing of head coach Butch Jones.

After decommitting, Gerald embraced the spotlight as he was visited by myriad coaches from around the country.

“The best advice I got was have fun with it,” the Florence, S.C. native said. “That’s what I did, I had fun with it. It was a lot less stress and on Twitter (you can see) I had fun.”

Gerald landed at COC after receiving little interest from schools after his high school and prep school careers. In his freshman season with the Cougars, he recorded 54 tackles and 12 sacks.

He improved his play on the field and his state of mind, too.

“Being in (California) has taught me a lot of things,” Gerald said. “Cali is a place, if it wasn’t so expensive I’d stay out there.

“I had to be on my own and it helped me become a man. I was so close to my family and I didn’t have to do anything and now I’m going to do everything for myself.”

Gerald will be back at Canyons on Sunday and will be at Arkansas, where he plans to study sociology, in May.

“I’m going to take a few days off,” he said. “I’m going to eat good with my family and Sunday I’m back in California. I’ll get back to the grind.”

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