- By Jeff Sentell DawgNation
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The budget today calls for an examination of where one of Georgia’s top DT targets for 2018 is at right now. That’s 4-star North Carolina talent Rick Sandidge.
Interview a recruit. Ask the important questions. The things folks might want to know.
Print the most interesting answers. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.
That can get boring. Even though the daily effort is supposed to make every interview seem like a firecracker with clear thoughts and bullet points to chronicle and report.
But sometimes the water is just muddy.
I feel the recruiting process for Rick Sandidge is a lot like that. He’s a great guy. Joyful. Happy. Always smiling.
I’ve interviewed him on several occasions now. He fires off the “No, sirs” and “Yes, sirs” and always has impeccable manners. He represents the Concord High (N.C.) football program very well.
So he answers a question with “I just don’t know” it really seems to me like he means it.
My takeaway back in May was a notion that he was unsettled. A bit overwhelmed. Still had a long way to go. His June and July thoughts were similar. He still had a lot of data to collect.
Welcome to November. It just seems clear that Sandidge still plans to take his time.
Those conversations remind me this recruiting stuff can be hard. For Sandidge, it seems like someone has laid four gift cards out to four superb restaurants.
The cards allow him to eat for free for the next four years at every establishment. Every one will be a great choice.
The nation’s No. 11 DT and No. 129 overall prospect is going to eat, so to speak. He’s just having a hard time deciding where.
Sandidge was at UGA again for an unofficial visit for the South Carolina game. Most point to him as a lean to the Gamecocks.
I’m not sure where that information comes from. Maybe just one strong opinion and everyone rolled with it.
Why does everyone think he is trending to Carolina? When asked that specific question, Sandidge offered up a unique reply. He started citing that it was the home state school. That was North Carolina.
Not South Carolina. That reply right there told me exactly where his mind was at.
He’s from Chapel Hill originally. That’s why he looks as UNC as the school from his hometown that is recruiting him.
What about his family ties to South Carolina? Are those a pull?
“Well, no,” Sandidge said. “No, not really. My mom just went there and went back to college for another degree.”
How should people regard this decision up ahead of him right now? It is still very much the same.
It just isn’t that easy for him to figure out.
“I think my mom just wants me to go ahead and get this recruiting stuff over with,” Sandidge said. “She wants me to just go ahead and commit somewhere. But I actually do not know where I want to go so that makes it hard to do that.”
There was a net result with his latest trip to Athens.
“It just increased my relationship with Georgia,” Sandidge said.
He’s set on three officials right now. That will be to Michigan for the Ohio State game. Sandidge also plans to visit Florida and Penn State.
He plans, like a lot of guys before him, to use those official visits on those “far away” trips. Not the ones that can be managed on his own dime.
If he needs to see Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina again, he has his own plan for that.
“If I feel like I need to take a visit there to get more of a feel, then I will take a visit there,” he said. “But I would like to use those visits for far away. But maybe if I don’t have another far away school that I would like to go see or that I have already seen, then I would probably use that to go somewhere else.”
Back in June, he liked that Georgia was one of the schools which were not pressuring him to make a decision. That scored points with him.
But that was six months ago. Daily Intel readers know that UGA has 18 slots occupied for 2018 and likely only has about six more scholarships publicly available. The actual number could very well be a lot less than that.
Does he feel that Georgia will still give him that same time to decide now?
“I don’t know,” Sandidge said.
But he realizes he is still wanted.
“Coach (Scott) says that he wants me to come play for him but he also shows me that at the same time,” Sandidge said. “That is not just only talk there with him.”
Sandidge feels UNC, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Penn State are recruiting him the hardest right now.
Does Georgia’s season this year matter? Sandidge said only slightly.
“It is a bonus,” he said. “It is an honor to get recruited by a school that is that highly-ranked. But it also makes it scary, too. You can be like ‘Dang’ because you can tell how many other recruits might want to go there.”
Georgia is hotly pursuing both Sandidge and 4-star DT Jordan Davis from North Carolina at this time. Both of those guys were in town for the South Carolina game. They seemed to hang around one another a lot. Their families even sat right near one another in the recruiting bleachers.
It seems plausible to think the Bulldogs will eventually sign at least one of those two tackles.
“I’ve known Jordan for a good minute,” Sandidge said. “I just think it would be pretty if he and I played for the same school. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.”
Scott used to coach the defensive line for North Carolina. He has very good ties to the coaches and young talent in that state. Sandidge still feels that relationship with Scott is a major plus for him with Georgia.
He still speaks with Scott and Georgia every week.
When it comes time to decide, he feels that he might rely on his gut.
“I think it will just be a feeling that says ‘this might be the real place for me’ or it may be a ‘I’m just not feeling it here’ moment that takes others out of it,” he said.
He said he’s had that “this could be it” feeling before.
“There’s a good three or about four schools where I have had that feeling,” Sandidge said, who wishes to keep the names of those programs tucked in the pocket.
At Georgia, he said that Scott told him to watch No. 52 (Tyler Clark) and No. 78 (Trenton Thompson) during the game.
“He said for me to look out for those two because that was the position that I could be playing,” he said. “I watched them and I was having a good time watching them and watching the game with my family really.”
The trip this past weekend marked his first UGA game trip. Does he need to come back to Georgia for another visit.
“It would be nice to come back,” he said. “But I don’t feel like I really need to.
He said he feels the same way about the two schools that he has already visited the most: North Carolina and South Carolina. Sandidge even said that he hasn’t even honestly thought about cutting his options down to a top 4 or a top 5 at this point.
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