This Sentell’s Intel rep on Georgia football recruiting has the latest with 5-star OT David Sanders Jr. He ranks as the nation’s No. 1 OT and the No. 2 overall prospect for 2025 on the 247Sports Composite and The On3 Industry Ranking.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- David Sanders Jr. was back in Athens last weekend. The nation’s No. 1 OT prospect is as big of a priority as it gets for the 2025 class.

Sanders Jr. had a wide-ranging conversation with DawgNation on Monday night. We will quickly try to share some key nuggets of information and get to his specific thoughts on the visit.

  • To begin with, there was no big message or speech from Kirby Smart or Stacy Searels. That is expected to come at his official on June 7. Georgia just emphasized the same thing it has done with Sanders for years: He is a priority for the program, this class and the future of the team.
  • The decision will likely come down to “75 percent” relationships and then there will be a small part, perhaps as little as five percent here, that will be taken from his upcoming officials.
  • The second thing to note here is Sanders has now crossed the threshold into “Big Boy” status as far as his weight to play OT in the SEC. He was measured at 6 feet, 6.25 inches in Athens. His weight is now up to 285 pounds.
  • That should de-cleat any concern about the 5-star OT being able to report to college with a body ready for the SEC grind. Sanders should be in that 285-295 range by the time he graduates in December. He’s already at the size future first-round pick Broderick Jones was heading into his senior year of high school in 2019. That has been impressive. He was right around 260, maybe a little less, at the end of his junior year.
  • Sanders said he expects to make his college decision before the start of his senior season in late July or early August. That’s the current timeline.
  • Is there a chance he might “feel it” and make his commitment in June and not finish out his official visits? Yes, but he said the probability there is not high. The clear intent is to take all five of his official visits in late May and June to Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State.
  • Georgia impressed Sanders and his family here with another strong visit. For a lot of reasons.
  • There are a host of players working for the Dawgs to land Sanders as the centerpiece of the 2025 class. Georgia freshman OLs Daniel Calhoun and Mike Uini are in his ear about UGA. There are good relationships there he can learn from. There is also fellow 2025 OL Mason Short. Those two have gotten to know one another well across many unofficials to different programs up to this point.
  • Short has been putting in work. DawgNation readers and viewers will recall that after he made his college commitment he said he was coming for Sanders in the 2025 class. He has been doing that.
  • Georgia coach Kirby Smart has begun to make an even bigger impression in this recruitment. While he wasn’t so much on Sanders at first, he is now FaceTiming Sanders regularly. Those chats usually take place on Sundays. They often have very little to do with football.
  • Sanders said something interesting about the fellowship he had with Short and fellow 2025 OT target Ziyare Addison on this visit. Sanders said the guys had fun egging on Georgia OL coach Stacy Searels on this visit. They were urging him to keep up and to pick up the pace in the scavenger hunt. Sanders outlined how the roles were reversed on this occasion. The boys relished those moments. If they did decide to sign with UGA, the three of them would have to hear three or four years of Searels barking at them to be quicker and move along. “We got on him Friday night,” Sanders Jr. said. “We were telling him to stretch. We were telling him we were ready to go.”
  • He said those interactions with Searels were his favorite part of the visit, along with the scavenger hunt itself. “Then on Saturday he was all slow,” Sanders Jr. said. “We were on him bad because he’ll be on us at practice so we had to get our shot.”
  • It is always important for the entire Sanders family to feel at home on every visit. This visit also saw his three younger sisters enjoy themselves on the scavenger hunt. Not only was it David’s favorite part of the unofficial visit, but his three younger sisters really enjoyed it. They were invested scavenger hunt helpers, he said.
  • The novel ways UGA was able to import a campus tour into the gamesmanship of the scavenger hunt was appreciated by Team Sanders. His three sisters often call him “Brah Brah” and they were going across the campus seeing facilities pointed out and they were told that this is where “Brah Brah” would study while passing the Rankin Smith Center and this is where he would live (in the ECV) if he chose to sign with UGA.
  • He’s already guarding himself against an impulse commitment on one of his upcoming official visits. “If all of that is just bottled up and you just want to make that decision right there, I feel like you might not make the correct decision,” he said.

What did David Sanders Jr. have to say about this Georgia visit?

The DawgNation tally now has Sanders at five visits to check out the UGA program. He’s also seen the ‘Dawgs on two gamedays with Tennessee in 2022 and Kentucky in 2023.

Sanders will be in town for the sixth time on June 7.

“They said they’re going to go real in-depth during my official so I look forward to that on June 7,” he said.

He said he has “no questions left” when it comes to UGA.

“Obviously, they’ve been a top school in my mind since you’ve stepped foot on Georgia’s campus,” he said. “I mean you just can’t deny the fact that if you’re a top player in the country you want to play against top-level competition. You want to play with a guy with the same mindset as you. I mean it doesn’t get any better than the University of Georgia.”

Sanders had several interesting quotes about the visit, but these seemed to be the most insightful.

What was the big message from this visit?

“I’m a priority for the University of Georgia and they need me to continue the steps of you know being that legendary program. I mean, obviously, they already have guys there. But their mission was another big point. They might end up losing their entire starting offensive line in this next year. So they want me to be a part of that. Not necessarily rebuild but be a part of that next class that will just be the monster and that ‘Great Wall of Georgia’ is what they called it with me, Mason [Short] and a couple of other pieces. That would be crazy. It would be a crazy offensive line.”

On if he will take all of his officials in June:

“As of right now, I am going to take all five of my officials that I have set in June,” he said. “I don’t believe that we will find anything early because I really want to take my time with each and every school and give everybody their equal shot. Because as of right now, everybody is on an even playing field. I feel like after officials everybody will have there, that’s their final say-so really, so I want to be committed before the season starts.”

On his new weight:

“I wouldn’t say I am a fat boy yet,” Sanders said while laughing at the suggestion. “I don’t have a stomach but I am up there, though. ... I’m one of the big boys now. For sure.”

On the uniqueness of this visit:

“I think this time was a little bit more different of an experience,” he said. “They added that personal touch to this visit. We did have one football meeting. That was unscheduled. But we did it just to get a better understanding of their offense. It looked like a whole offensive meeting. We just got to get a better understanding of the offense, how it is ran and like the rankings they had between other SEC schools and other schools in college football in general.”

“So it was just good to see those numbers. But it was very brief. It was like a 25 or 30-minute meeting and then we got right to the scavenger hunt.”

That was a meeting for all the offensive prospects in town, including those prized receivers. Georgia was able to show those players where it ranks nationally in total offense and other numbers, including the way it has thrown the ball over the last few years.

The defensive recruits in town had a separate meeting over the weekend.

“They wanted us to have fun for the most part,” he said.

The national speculation on where Sanders might sign has been uneven. Georgia was always an early prime contender and it remains in that spot. There was a time when recruiting industry insiders pegged Clemson as the team to watch, but that has shifted lately to also include Ohio State and Tennessee.

Sanders said there at times when this process can feel like a burden, but he continued to show his appreciation for his parents and the way they have managed things. He said they are doing a great job of keeping all the pressure off of him.

“To be honest, I’m not really stressed at all,” Sanders Jr. said. “Going on as many visits as I possibly can while I have the chance. Everybody only gets to get recruited one time.”

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How did the scavenger hunt go on the David Sanders Jr. unofficial visit?

Sanders said he got to hear a few more recruiting pitches from Short. Those were both for him and for Ziyare Addison.

“To try to get us to commit,” Sanders Jr. said.

It was also a good weekend to connect with Searels. He said that he has a “great relationship” with both Searels and new assistant offensive line coach Warren Ericson.

“It was pretty cool to be with those guys and do something other than sit in team meeting rooms and watch football practice,” he said. “We got to run around campus. See different parts of campus. Answer different questions. See the personality of Coach Searels outside of coaching. I think that was really big. Because not only are you going to have him as a coach but that’s somebody that you are going to have each and every day.”

Sanders realized that if he did choose UGA he’d have to spend a lot of time around Searels. He’d be away from home and there’d be long stretches where he’d be on campus.

The UGA players are currently on an extended break.

“Say you don’t go back home,” he said. “That’s someone you are going to be spending a lot of time with day in and day out. So if that’s not somebody you [don’t] think you can hang out with outside a team meeting room or just watching film you won’t be able to fit in there. It was a great experience for me just being able to hang out with the guys and hang out with Coach Searels.”

The OL group was the first to find Coach Smart on campus at the scavenger hunt.

“Coach Smart told me that the offensive line had never won and we always came in last,” Sanders Jr. said. “I told him we had some athletic linemen this year so we were going to change it. We came in third and which we wanted to win the whole thing but we had speculations that everyone was cheating that came in front of us. I think we really won but he was still impressed that we came [in] so high. That was really good. We set the standard for the big boys for sure.”

We’ve come to learn that cheating and cheating accusations at that annual event are as big of a part of a scavenger hunt tradition at UGA as those golf carts and selfies with Coach Smart.

The OL group had to deal with an early flat tire, but it was caught before everyone got to the starting line and took off.

The scavenger hunt, as it turns out, was something he had always wanted to do at UGA.

“I just think growing up I had always seen the older guys at the scavenger hunt,” he said. So that was something I just wanted to do and you know get that experience. Even if I don’t end up committed to the University of Georgia, I can always say I had that experience.”

“Not only with Coach Searels but Coach Smart and everybody that was with me. So spending time with those guys and spending time with the coaches was just super fun and a cool experience. But for me, I gained just the fact you can fit in at Georgia and I feel like it is not just as one-dimensional as people think. I feel like they have a lot to offer outside of football and things like that. So I learned a lot while I was there, but that was the main thing. Just adding that personal connection.”

4-star Georgia commit Mason Short (left) poses with 5-star priority OT target David Sanders Jr. (center right) during the annual Georgia football scavenger hunt weekend on May 18, 2024, in Athens, Georgia. (Mason Short/ X) (Courtesy photo/Dawgnation)

What will eventually trigger the David Sanders Jr. decision?

Sanders said he has a working plan in his mind. It might not eventually be the plan, but this is where his head is going now.

He will take all of his officials in June. Then he will shut it down. No coaches or reporters or media in July. He will just focus on his Providence Day football team and those workouts.

His Chargers have an annual team camp in the mountains. When the squad all reports to that camp, they will then hand their cell phones and connection to the outside world to coach Chad Grier. He puts all their phones in a bag. They won’t get their phones back until all the team bonding that can be had takes place.

Seniors are paired up with freshmen players to help them integrate into the program.

When Sanders “comes back down from that mountain” he feels like he will have a decision set in his mind about where to go.

“After that, I feel like I will have a really good idea,” he said. “Because I’ll be able to sit in a room really think about, you know, everything that’s happened over the course of these past four years and think about the different relationships I’ve built. The things I’ve heard. The things I’ve learned and the things I know I am going to get at the next level. So I’m really excited for that.”

“But I believe I am going to take all five of my officials unless I just fall in love with that one. If I get that feeling, I might just have to call it quits but as of right now I feel like I am going to take all of them.”

The Dawgs continue to chop the wood here. To put in the work on the trail. Sanders and his family are aware of that.

He is “super excited” for his official visit.

“Georgia has done a wonderful job since they started recruiting me when I was in middle school my freshman year so I can’t say enough about that program and those coaches for sure,” Sanders Jr. said.

4-star Georgia commit Mason Short (right) poses with 5-star priority OT target David Sanders Jr. (center in sunglasses) during the annual Georgia football scavenger hunt weekend on May 18, 2024, in Athens, Georgia. (Mason Short/ X) (Courtesy photo/Dawgnation)

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