MATTHEWS, N.C. — Tennessee has ground to make up if it is going to ever see Rick Sandidge in orange.
The Scout four-star defensive tackle prospect from Concord (N.C.) High School has been to Knoxville to see what the Volunteers have to offer.
“I took a visit down there,” Sandidge told InsideTennessee. “I went to go see the campus. I had a great time. They take their orange seriously, like my eyes were getting messed up from seeing all bright orange.”
It’s going to take a crank-up of communication of Tennessee can make up ground on some prominent programs for the No. 10 D-tackle in America.
“I hear from Florida State, Michigan, South Carolina, UNC,” Sandidge said of the staffs coming the hardest.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Big Orange could still wind up with Sandidge as he hasn’t closed the doors their pursuit of him. It starts with Tennessee coaches getting to know him.
“I would be they haven’t been in contact that much. So I really didn’t get to know them that much,” Sandidge said.
The Tar Heel State’s No. 1 defensive tackle in the 2018 class has not yet seen a game in Neyland Stadium. He has checked out the gameday atmospheres of North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Trips on the horizon figure to take Sandidge to to Louisiana State, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Coaches from the various programs have told the No. 116 player in the nation that they like how he can put pressure on quarterbacks from the interior of the defensive front.
“I’m aggressive, I’m shifty, I’m more of like a pass rusher,” said Sandidge, who competes in the same Concord program that produced former Tennessee running back Jay Graham.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder, who had 41 tackles and four sacks his junior year, laser-timed a 5.26-second 40-yard dash at The Opening Charlotte on May 7.
North Carolina was the first to offer with East Carolina, N.C. State and Temple soon to follow. He was offered by Tennessee his “early sophomore year.”
Sandidge earned first-team honors alongside Tennessee signee Matthew Butler on the 2016 American Family Insurance All-USA North Carolina Football Team.
As a sophomore, Sandidge recorded 49 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and five sacks.