CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Shortly after North Carolina extended him his first offer, Rick Sandidge visited campus for the Wake Forest football game. This offseason, the four-star 2018 prospect returned to Chapel Hill twice.
“They take their blue and white serious,” Sandidge said. “It’s a great atmosphere. I liked it a lot. I see a lot of different things from each college I go to. But, I saw a lot that I liked about North Carolina.”
Sandidge, a 6-foot-5, 273-pound defensive lineman from Concord (N.C.), attended a late February junior day and then returned a month later for a more individually-tailored visit. The junior day included the basketball game against Miami, while the individual visit revolved around a spring practice.
“I knew it as a basketball school, but when I saw their football team I was like ‘Dang, those people are big,’” Sandidge said. “And they were destroying people and everything.”
During the individual visit, Sandidge was able to receive a more in-depth look at UNC.
“They showed me the campus, they showed me the dorms, they showed me the locker room and the weight room,” Sandidge said. “I liked everything they have to offer."
Additionally, Sandidge had separate meetings with defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, primary recruiter Chris Kapilovic, and defensive line coach Tray Scott.
“They were telling me how they run their defense,” Sandidge said. “They see me playing DT.”
Sandidge has primarily played defensive end for Concord High. He concluded his sophomore season -- his first as a starter -- with 43 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss and 2.0 sacks.
Despite three positive experiences, Sandidge isn’t prepared to elevate UNC over any of the other schools recruiting him.
“I treat all my schools the same,” Sandidge said. “I’m pretty wide open.”
That mindset stems from a constant flow of new offers. The recent additions of Florida and Wake Forest have pushed Sandidge’s offer count to 14. The Gators and Demon Deacons join a group that had already consisted of Florida State, Louisville, UNC, NC State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
“I didn’t think I was going to get recruited this much,” Sandidge said. “It shocks me.”
At the end of his junior year, Sandidge will gain a better grasp of his recruitment by narrowing his focus to a selective group of schools. The length of that list will depend on how many programs end up offering. No schools are locks to make the cut.
Besides UNC, Sandidge has visited Alabama, Florida State, NC State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wake Forest. Virginia Tech figures to be his next stop.