Sedrick Van Pran usually delivers very polished answers.
After all, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound rising senior from New Orleans is a sharp communicator in the 2020 cycle. He will often give very well-intended and well-thought-out responses on the regular.
His question this time was: Why did Georgia crack the list of his top eight schools?
“They have been here since Day 1,” he told DawgNation. “I like them and they love me. So that’s really it.”
It sounded like the way he flies off the line. Point A to Point B.
Georgia offered him after a rare summer camp last summer. He had only done a handful of team workouts at that time.
He shined and then elevated his worth along a private one-on-one workout.
When he says the Bulldogs have been there since Day 1, that is accurate. Not a generalization.
Georgia was his first offer from the nation’s power conference. His top eight is comprised almost entirely of SEC programs. Those powerful Sooners out of Oklahoma stand as the lone party crasher.
— Sedrick Van Pran (@LXIII_NOVA) June 2, 2018
Check where the Bulldogs offer landed compared to the other schools among his elite eight. The timelines here are cataloged here in the manner he shared those offers on Twitter.
- Georgia: June 2, 2018
- Florida: Aug. 16, 2018
- Missouri: Sept. 2, 2018
- Tennessee: Sept. 10, 2018
- Oklahoma: October 20, 2018
- Alabama: Jan. 14, 2019
- LSU: Jan. 29, 2019
- Texas A&M: Jan. 30, 2019
When he visited Georgia after its first game last year, he had a few clear thoughts. Even though it was his first game visit.
“My main thought above everything things else was that I couldn’t believe I was standing there as a recruit on the sidelines at the University of Georgia.”
“I was really amazed by the energy that everyone has for the school and the school pride everyone has was really amazing.”
“The energy was electric.”
“I really love that atmosphere.”
“Everybody felt like family. Everybody was talking to each other. Everybody was all smiling and smiles. It felt really nice for everyone in there to be a Georgia Bulldog.”
The Bulldogs have a bit of a family tug here. Van Pran has a couple of uncles who live about 75 miles away rom Athens. It means he also has cousins in the state, too.
Even back then, he aimed to take this experience slowly. He wants to treasure his final season. The lasting experiences with his teammates. He hoped to wait out his decision until the traditional National Signing Day in February of 2020.
“It has kind of changed,” Van Pran said recently. “I do still want to sign on National Signing Day but I think I might want to announce at the Under Armour All-American game. Kind of that deal. I’m committed to that game so that’s what I now hope to do.”
The Bulldogs are trending hard to earn an official visit from Van Pran.
“Pretty good chance,” Van Pran said.
It just might be in December when that happens. He has a good reason for that.
Why? Warren Easton High School football will come first. It is no wonder why he wants to find the same family “feels” in college that he has with his current team.
Check out this highlight! You won’t be disappointed 😈 https://t.co/XMXU2tWKD3
— Sedrick Van Pran (@LXIII_NOVA) January 3, 2019
Sedrick Van Pran is just “Burger” around his guys
There is a sincerity to Van Pran that he was also to illustrate with a follow-up to his tweet about top schools. He made sure to thank his father and the special women in his life who have always had his back.
— Sedrick Van Pran (@LXIII_NOVA) May 22, 2019
Van Pran wants to be a graphic designer. He stands to be a great one, too. He keeps his grades around that 3.4 to 3.8 range in school.
“I’m more than just a football player if that makes sense,” he said. “I feel like I have a talent for art that I want to see where that goes, too. I think my major will be about graphic design so schools with art programs will always be really nice for me, too.”
He has an eye. Van Pran said the logos and colors in college football should pop out. Oregon once held the belt there for him.
“They were always just so mad with those bright colors,” he said. “I grew up liking them for real.”
Baylor and TCU were also on his short “graphic designer” eye candy list. Georgia and its red helmets also earned a mention.
“Especially when they wear that black jersey with it,” Van Pran said. “That caught my attention.”
He picked up the nickname “Burger” in park ball.
As much as that would’ve killed it in this story, it wasn’t because an old coach offered him a cheeseburger after games for every touchdown he paved the way for. That would be a classic offensive lineman nickname story.
This was because he played like a guy who now plays at Colorado. Van Pran still looks to him as a mentor.
“We had a guy that looked like me who played before me and they used to call him ‘Burger’ all the time, too,” Van Pran said. “That was the correlation there. So when I went into high school I still liked it. I kept it.”
Van Pran sure wants to keep that timeline for an Under Armour All-American commitment ceremony. But realizes the degree of difficulty in that.
“I want to announce what I am doing at the UA All-American game, right,” Van Pran said. “But I know that may be unlikely. People and classes and schools will start to fill up spots. So what I am telling [schools] is to kind of keep me informed on the spots that they have left on the line. If I have to silently commit to a school then I will do that.”
“I do have to hold off until the Under Armour All-American game. But as of right now, I am trying to wait all that out as long as I can.”
He wants his moment. Rightfully so. But here realizes some schools can’t hold off on a player they really like for that spot. Van Pran might be their preferred option, but they would rather get a credible target than come up empty.
Oklahoma is a big contender for “Burger”
The Sooners of Oklahoma seem to have dug in here. Van Pran took an early official in April to Norman. He was actually there with 4-star Georgia OL commit Akinola Ogunbiyi.
Lincoln Riley and his staff may have offered later than a few teams in his top eight, but they have made up the ground. He was impressed by that official.
Getting to eat breakfast with coach Riley at his house was a highlight. “Burger” knocked down the hash browns and sausage, some caramelized bacon, eggs and a waffle.
“Then that situation where they brought us into the Oklahoma arena [basketball facility] and we got to have lunch there,” he said. “Those elements were probably my two biggest moments. We were actually on the court. We actually ate on the court. It was all just surreal. That was a great experience.”
Riley stressed to Van Pran his importance.
“He just saw me as a leader of the class,” Van Pran said. “He wanted me to be a leader of the 2020 class and possibly, if I went there, he wanted me to be a leader early on in their program. They just saw me as a leadership type guy.”
Oklahoma further turned his head on his official by sitting him down with a professor in their graphic design school.
“That was really dope,” Van Pran said. “She just let me know that if I decide to come there they have systems in place that will allow me to be successful there in that lane. That was another momentous occasion for me along with my official there.”
There are other schools in this final group to think about, but the Sooners do catch a lot of Van Pran’s attention on social media. It is also the only other school aside from UGA he has visited recently.
Florida is another school that has been making Van Pran a priority for almost as long as Georgia. His home state LSU Tigers should also never be discounted in a recruiting race like this.
Sedrick Van Pran compares how OU and UGA recruit their guys
Van Pran can really play. Physical and violent. He punishes guys. If you watch his tapes, he channels his aggression but it doesn’t overheat his play.
He makes plays in the middle of snaps where he shows he can think on the fly. Van Pran is powerful and yet he also knows how to enhance that with angles, hand placement and leverage.
It wasn’t sensible to ask Van Pran to compare his Oklahoma official to his last “amazing” unofficial to UGA. That was where Kirby Smart let him play DJ to kick off a day of spring practice.
“I will say that Georgia does really make me feel like home,” Van Pran said. “Honestly, there’s really not that big of a difference between them and those visits.”
He did bring up a way he sees Oklahoma recruit an elite target in a different manner than he has seen at Georgia. This wasn’t better or worse, it was more a matter of recruiting philosophy.
“Maybe at Georgia, it is more of a coach-to-recruit type of relationship,” Van Pran said. “At Oklahoma, they had that coach-recruit stuff relationship as well but they kind of put us more around the guys on the team. So we can kind of get a feel for that family environment.”
As far as officials go, that could be the only one for a while. Van Pran said last month he wants to take most of his officials after the season. Or at least closer to the time when he will make his college decision.
“I probably wouldn’t expect an official visit soon,” he said. “At the most, maybe an unofficial after one of our games or something. As long as it doesn’t interfere with our film sessions or anything. As far as an official visit in the season, I’d say ‘Nah’ because I just can’t see it.”
His high school has championship dreams. The last thing he wants is to see his future college planning or research impede that in any way. Some recruits say that. Van Pran makes you believe it.
How Sedrick Van Pran has changed up his outlook
The more he has been exposed to recruiting, the more he feels his perspective has realigned.
“I used to look more at the coach-player relationship,” he said. “But now from talking to other highly-recruited guys who are already on campus or have graduated, they tell me not to choose a school based on a coach. Because at the end of the day it is all business. That coach could leave when he feels it is necessary or he has a better opportunity.”
“You always want to wind up in a situation where you love the school the most and not just the coach. Because what happens if that coach leaves? You might be in big trouble.”
Georgia wasn’t recruiting Van Pran as consistently hard as other schools had over the last few months. But that changed after his last unofficial.
“They have definitely been contacting more this spring,” Van Pran said. “I always felt like a priority since the day I first stepped on campus. That’s what they have told me and now I can see that things are starting to speed up. But it has been a significant difference this spring.”
“Coach Pitt [Sam Pittman] says I am his guy. That’s what he tells me and I definitely believe him.”
There is something to consider here about strong ties with Van Pran to other potential college teammates. Ashaad Clayton, his current Warren Easton teammate, rates as a 4-star RB and is one of the nation’s top prospects at his position. LSU is the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” pick for Clayton.
He’d like to play with him in college. There is also a hope to play with Georgia commit Akinola Ogunbiyi, too.
“There is definitely hope there for us,” Van Pran said of the chance with Ogunbiyi. “That’s something we have talked about but at the end of the day, it may not happen. We’ve talked about that. Maybe. Possibly.”
Those good vibes with guys like Clayton and Ogunbiyi may just cancel one another out.
“He and I really talked about teaming up and going to a program and getting some other guys to come with us,” Van Pran said about Ogunbiyi. “Just really try to take a shot at that ‘Natty’ man. We want that. I don’t know where all of that will ultimately go but that is definitely an idea.”
— Sedrick Van Pran (@LXIII_NOVA) May 22, 2019