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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Rick Sandidge visited UGA last weekend. He says he feels very wanted by the Bulldogs.

UGA recruiting: 4-star DT target Rick Sandidge still sounds undecided

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 for Thursday calls for a look at the recruitment of one of Georgia’s top defensive tackle targets for 2018. 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.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge competed at Nike’s The Opening. UGA line coach Tray Scott has made a strong connection with him. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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.

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. 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 when he answers a question with “I just don’t know,” it seems to me like he means it. Really. If you could take in the tone of his words sometimes like I do, then you’d realize they are not a parry or a feint.

My take away 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. Sandidge still had a lot of data to collect.

Welcome to November. It still seems as if the 6-foot-5, 285-pound player has more work to do.

Those conversations remind me this recruiting stuff can be hard. For Sandidge, it seems like someone has laid a handful of gift cards out to a handful of superb restaurants in front of him. The cards will allow him to eat for free for the next four years at any of the establishments. Every meal will be great. But he can only choose one, and it’s just so hard to decide.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge says he thinks that UGA might add two or three more defensive tackles to its 2018 class. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Sandidge is the nation’s No. 11 defensive tackle and No. 129 overall prospect, according to the 247Sports composite. He also is an adept thinker. He has sage advice for others about the recruiting process.

“Don’t commit to a school just because of the name,” Sandidge said. “Commit to a school based on how they treat you. The name really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be a Bama or a Georgia or a South Carolina to me. It is going to be a school where I know I can do something when I get there. That school is using me but at the same time, I know that I am using them, too. It is a business. They are helping me to get to where I want to be and I am helping them with their seasons.”

The latest with Rick Sandidge about his college process

Sandidge was at UGA again for an unofficial visit for the South Carolina game. Most point to him as a lean to the Gamecocks.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge is rated as the nation’s No. 11 DT for 2018 by the 247Sports Composite.(Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

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 South Carolina? When asked that specific question, Sandidge offered a unique reply. He started citing that it was the home-state school.

That’s North Carolina, not South Carolina. That reply told me exactly where his mind is.

He’s from Chapel Hill originally. That’s why he regards North Carolina as the school from his hometown 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 his decision? It is still very much the same. This just isn’t that easy for him to get his arms around it all.

“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.”

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge says he will value his relationship with his future position coach and strength and conditioning staff. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

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: Michigan for the Ohio State game, Florida and Penn State. Sandidge has yet to take his first official.

He plans, like a lot of guys before him, to use those 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 [official] 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.”

A deeper look at the Rick Sandidge decision 

In June, Sandidge said that he liked that Georgia was one of the schools that made it easy. The Bulldogs were not pressuring him to make a decision. That scored points.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge says three or four schools could be the place for him. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

But that was six months ago. Daily Intel readers know UGA has 18 slots occupied for 2018. The nation’s No. 1 team likely only has about six more scholarships publicly available.

The actual number very well could be a lot less than that.

Does he feel that Georgia will still give him that same time to decide?

“I don’t know,” Sandidge said.

But he realizes he is still wanted. He said he’s been told Georgia could add two to three more recruits to the class at his position.

“Coach [defesnive line coach Tray 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 said North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Penn State are recruiting him the hardest. Does Georgia’s season this year matter? Yes. But just 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. Both were in town for the South Carolina game. They seemed to hang around one another a lot. Their families sat right near one another in the recruiting bleachers.

It seems plausible that the Bulldogs will 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 cool 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 strong ties to the coaches and young talent in that state. Sandidge said that relationship with Scott is a major plus for Georgia. He said he speaks with Scott and Georgia every week.

When it comes time to decide, it just might come down to instinct.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge says he hopes to study sports marketing in college. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“I think it will just be a feeling that says, ‘This might be the real place for me’ or it may be an ‘I’m just not feeling it here’ moment that takes others out of it,” he said.

He’s had that “this could be it” feeling before.

“There are a good three or about four schools where I have had that feeling,” Sandidge said, choosing to keep the names of those programs tucked away in the pocket.

When he was at Georgia, 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?

“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 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 yet.

5-star Justin Fields is still working on Rick Sandidge

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge said he hears a lot from Justin Fields about playing together about Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Sandidge also has a clear view of what he wants. When asked about which aspects of the recruiting decision clearly matter to him, he listed them on the following scale.

  • 5 stars: Degree fit; vibe with the coaches; relationship with his position coach; relationship with the strength and conditioning staff
  • 4 stars: Established friendships with future teammates; relationship with the head coach and defensive coordinator; scheme fit
  • 3 to 4 stars: Playing right away; warm climate; facilities
  • 3 stars: Putting players in the NFL; chance to win a national championship; pretty girls; playing in a strong conference
  • 1 to 2 stars: Number of players signed at his position
  • 0 stars: Proximity to his home; school uniform and gear

He knows a lot of players at North Carolina, he said. He knows “some” from Georgia, Penn State and South Carolina. Sandidge also has a former teammate at Florida State.

For Georgia, he knows James Cook, Justin Fields and Zamir White. He’s also talking with another prominent UGA target, too.

The Bulldogs are getting a boost from their marquee commitment with Sandidge.

“Justin Fields has been recruiting me to go there,” Sandidge said.

Fields apparently watches to see if Sandidge sends any love to one school or another.

“If I put a Michigan or a South Carolina post up, he will send me a message on Twitter,” Sandidge said. “He will be like, ‘C’mon, bro’ and ‘Why?’ when I do that.”

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