Sanders Planning UNC Official

During Deke Adams's most recent visit to LaGrange (Ga.) High School, the North Carolina defensive line coach and Joe Sanders set up preliminary plans for an official visit.

"He wants to get me down to see the place on an official visit," Sanders said. "And I said I would.

"I think I'm going the week after next."

The conversation occurred a few days following the Dead Period.

Sanders, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive tackle, will officially visit Tennessee, the school he's been verbally committed to since early November, this weekend. He says that regardless of what happens on that visit, he'll still take his visit to UNC.

"The way [the UNC coaches] have explained the school to me [I want to make sure I visit]," Sanders said. "They're a program on the rise and I think they've sent the most defensive line players to the NFL – more than anybody. They want me to be a part of that."

Besides Adams, Sanders also communicates with Chris Kapilovic, who recruits Sanders's school for UNC.

This past weekend, Sanders took his first official visit, traveling to Washington.

"It was good," Sanders said. "I learned a lot. They need some new players that they can play as true freshmen. My friend Shaq Thompson is there and he played as a true freshman. I know that they keep it real about everything."

Approximately ten days after Sanders verbally committed to Tennessee, the Volunteers fired head coach Derek Dooley. Following a turbulent coaching search, Tennessee hired Butch Jones as Dooley's replacement. That uncertainty – coupled with interest from other schools – is what prompted Sanders to explore other options.

Sanders has conversed with Jones, but says the majority of his communication with the new Tennessee staff is through former Tar Heel assistant coach Tommy Thigpen, who was added to the Volunteers staff in December.

"We're trying to establish a relationship," Sanders said. "They asked me if I was going to visit other schools and I told them I was."

Sanders is somewhat of a late bloomer. He focused primarily on basketball early in his prep career and transferred from LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County following his junior football season. As a senior, he accumulated over 100 tackles, 12 sacks, and three touchdowns.

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