CONCORD, N.C. --- North Carolina extended Rick Sandidge his first scholarship offer last fall. That offer began a steady flow of similar opportunities for the Concord High defensive lineman.
“He’s an exceptionally talented player,” Concord head coach Glen Padgett said. “His upside is huge – he’s 6-5, 250 [pounds]. He has great quick twitch movement, a very explosive first step, and he’s long. We feel like – and the colleges that are recruiting him agree – he’s going to be an exceptional defensive end, because of his height and his range.
“The good thing with him is he’s just a sophomore and he’s going to grow. Both of his parents are very tall -- his dad is over 6-10 and his mom is 6-2. So [Sandidge] is probably going to end up being 6-7. He has the kind of frame to be an exceptional player at the next level.”
For the majority of his freshman season, Sandidge was “eight-quartered” (i.e. on JV, but dressed for varsity games). He saw his first varsity snaps during Concord’s regular season finale that season and contributed during its playoff run.
From opening day of his sophomore season, Sandidge started at defensive end. He ended that campaign with 43 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss and 2.0 sacks.
“He’s our open-end five-technique,” Padgett said. “We like to match him up one-on-one with tackles. We fell like because of his first step, because of his quickness, because of his ability to use leverage, he’s able to get into the backfield and cause problems for opponents' offenses.”
Last October, North Carolina became the first school to offer Sandidge.
“One of my coaches actually called [Chris Kapilovic] and I talked to him,” Sandidge said. “And he said they were going to offer me if I visited.”
That weekend, Sandidge attended UNC’s victory over Wake Forest. As promised, Larry Fedora offered Sandidge prior to kickoff. He returned to Chapel Hill a few weeks later for the Tar Heels’ defeat of Duke.
“They were nice,” Sandidge said. “I liked both visits a lot.”
Since UNC offered, East Carolina, NC State, Temple, and West Virginia have followed suit.
Sandidge has also visited NC State and Wake Forest for games. Last weekend, he attended South Carolina’s Junior Day.
Before the summer, Sandidge hopes to visit Duke, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech, in addition to returning to UNC.
Although proximity to home could play a role, Sandidge is entering the recruiting process with an open mind.
“I’m going to treat every offer with respect and look into all of them,” Sandidge said.
Sandidge’s classmate, Rechon Black, is a four-star shooting guard committed to UNC for basketball. He’s also close with Hamsah Nasirildeen, a 2017 football target who has a few FBS offers… Along with Black and Nasirildeen, Sandidge is a member of Concord’s basketball team… Sandidge grew up rooting for Alabama.