Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Prized defensive tackle Rick Sandidge and family welcomed a lot of Bulldogs staff members into their home on Monday night.

UGA traveled 6 deep for key in-home visit with prized DT Rick Sandidge

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings at least five days a week. The rep for Tuesday is another check-in regarding the recruitment of prized defensive tackle Rick Sandidge from North Carolina. The Bulldogs actually sent six staff members to see him on Monday, including newly deputized Jonas Jennings. 


Kirby Smart called Keshia Sandidge this week. He let the mother of elite 4-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge know a surprise was heading her way.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge says he plans to share his final decision privately with his three finalists a few days prior to National Signing Day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Smart’s gesture meant a recruiting battlefield promotion for Jonas Jennings. The former Georgia letterman and NFL veteran stepped beyond the zone of his director of player development role for UGA to do a little off-campus recruiting.

It was on the level. Jennings even had to take an NCAA test for that because he had never done an in-home visit before.

“He said that was the first time he had ever been on the road, period,” she said. “I don’t know how true that is, but he was like, ‘I don’t do this because I’m at home with the babies.’ ”

Jennings, as is the norm, plays a key role in how Sandidge, the nation’s No. 12 DT prospect from Concord, N.C., values the Bulldogs.

His mother sized him up to be very genuine within her first 10 minutes of meeting him.

“I have not met another person [in that role] in this long road of a recruiting process quite like Jonas,” Keshia Sandidge said.

It was a high compliment when she said that Jennings reminded her of herself. 

Jennings dialed in the role he would fill for her son if he chooses UGA.

“Jonas was able to put a good spin on all of this,” she said. “He was able to help me understand how he helps the guys with the college transition because that’s been my biggest concern on this road. That’s Junior being able to transition from being this sheltered kid at home and into a man in college. I think that is what is going to be important for him to be successful in life.”

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge is scheduled to take his final official visit, this one to South Carolina, this weekend. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

She said Junior, as his family calls him, had a great visit to North Carolina. The academic reputation of that university stands out, between the ability to tap into the alumni network and the doors a North Carolina degree would open up upon graduation.

That said, it also seemed to her that the chance to be counted on heavily as a freshman seems much more likely in Chapel Hill than at Georgia or South Carolina, his other finalists.

“It is not just a want or a need for him, but a ‘We have gotta have you’ there, and he can come in easily and play and create a niche for himself,” Keshia Sandidge said.

UGA went six deep on that in-home visit with Rick Sandidge

Keisha Sandidge told DawgNation that the Bulldogs sent six staff members Monday to visit their home. A contingent from South Carolina is expected to visit Wednesday and one from North Carolina on Friday.

Rick Sandidge-UGA recruiting
Rick Sandidge rates as the nation’s No. 12 DT for 2018 on the 247Sports Composite. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The Bulldogs have head coach Kirby Smart saved for closing time next week. Sandidge will take his final official visit to South Carolina this weekend and then use that last week to wrap his big arms around this decision.

He will finish with just three official visits.

Keshia Sandidge said Georgia’s in-home visit on Monday set a record. She said she never had hosted more than three coaches in her home at one time before.

That pack broke down this way:

  • Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
  • Defensive line coach Tray Scott (Scott, along with Jennings, are the core UGA relationships for Sandidge).
  • New outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning.
  • Inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann.
  • The aforementioned Jennings. He’s on the road after the staff departures of Kevin Sherrer and Shane Beamer. The NCAA permits 10 assistants on the road at any one time, and Jennings was pinch-hitting this week.
  • Current on-the-road recruiter Tyson Summers.

There were some key moments in that visit. A moment came up where Sandidge expressed his own thoughts about the fit at Georgia. The coaches worked overtime to inform the family on that issue.

“Junior came out of that shell [Monday] night and talked about things that even his father and I were looking at each other that he was saying it,” she said.

She summed up the in-home visit as another strong effort from Georgia. It was able to extend all the feelings from a very good official visit earlier this month.

“It is just making this decision that much harder for Junior here,” she said.

A funny detail regarding all these in-home visits 

It always amazes me how these families line up for those Twitter pics that recap an in-home visit. The Sandidges knew that the Bulldogs were coming Monday night.

Rick Sandidge Sr. already was wearing a UGA shirt. Junior put one on. Keshia Sandidge was wearing orange, even if it quite doesn’t look like it amid that picture at right.

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Georgia sent a large group of staff members on the road to see 4-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge in North Carolina on Monday night. (Rick Sandidge/Twitter)

Britany Sandidge, his 10-year-old sister,  wore a red hoodie to school on Tuesday. Her favorite school at one time was N.C. State. The family took a visit there.

“That was her favorite school,” Keshia Sandidge said. “We had to do all these things because that was the school she wanted. Junior actually considered N.C. State because of Britany.”

“I keep telling people that folks don’t know how much of an influence she has on this,” Keisha Sandidge said.

Her favorite has bounced around from N.C. State to Miami and now to another school.

“I don’t know where she is at now,” his mother said. “I think she is at Georgia now.”

The Georgia coaches tried to woo her, too.

“There were three of them that were chatting in the dining room with Junior and Britany,” his mother said. “The other three were standing in the kitchen with his father and I. It seemed like the big group still were able to work well together.”

Redshirt check from the Class of 2017

A few folks have been asked me about this so I thought I’d share on the site. Which members of the highly rated Class of 2017 redshirted for UGA last season?

  • 4-star DE Robert Beal
  • 4-star S Tray Bishop
  • 3-star DB/S Latavious Brini
  • JUCO transfer OT D’Marcus Hayes
  • 4-star ILB Jaden Hunter
  • 4-star OG Netori Johnson
  • 3-star WR Matt Landers
  • 3-star CB Eric Stokes
  • 5-star OT Isaiah Wilson

According to my knowledge, that’s the listing of all the redshirt freshmen in terms of class standing for the 2018 season.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-America LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.