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Rick Sandidge has just days remaining before he must commit to one of his top 3 schools: Georgia, North Carolina or South Carolina.

Which 3 things will prove to be biggest factors for elite DT Rick Sandidge?

Jeff Sentell

Rick Sandidge really likes Georgia and South Carolina. North Carolina also has earned its place among his three finalists.

He has checked in with officials at UGA and North Carolina during the last two weeks. South Carolina will get the last visit. That has been the program linked to Sandidge the most.

His mother, Keshia Sandidge, told DawgNation the Bulldogs probably have established two of the most important recruiting relationships with Rick and her family. It also sounds as if no school has an edge.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge will let his three finalists know about his college decision a few days before National Signing Day on Feb. 7. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The Bulldogs and Gamecocks even sound as if they are on level ground.

His mother’s SUV has South Carolina colors and a matching tag but that’s because she got her degree there in social work.
It also looked like that well before her son became a nationally rated recruit. Sandidge rates as the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle prospect (per the 247Sports composite) for 2018.

These programs all will paint a great picture of future success, support systems, top-notch facilities and also very strong academics.

Yet in the end, his mother said the decision will come down to three simple things.

The family started to discuss those this week after UGA sent six staff members to see him. When they started to really break things down, they had a way to start looking at each of those schools in a different light.

The 3 key things down the stretch for Rick Sandidge

“We were talking last night and I said the three most important things about a program are the things that you are going to say that these are the best here and that’s why I am going to go there,” his mother said.

She said she believes that it will be the individuals at the program that her son will spend the most time with. It will not be Kirby Smart or Larry Fedora or Will Muschamp. It won’t even be this position coach or that impressive coordinator.

“The people that he is going to spend the most time with are the strength and conditioning coach, your academic support counselors and then whether or not you can live there,” she said. “He needs to answer this question: ‘Can I see myself living there because that football [season] has, what, 12 weeks? Can I live here? Can I be successful here?’ ”

Academics. Location. Strength coaches. That seems like a good way to figure out the very small ways in which these three quality options can distinguish themselves from one another.