UCLA Fighting SEC for Sanders

"I grew up in South Carolina so I know all about football in the South," Zebrie Sanders said. "My mom went to Georgia so I would hear all about them and all about how bad Florida is from her. But I also always followed UCLA. My dad said he wanted to go there for college and he taught me all about them. The main thing with them is their tradition. They are great in both football and basketball..."

Zebrie Sanders, the 6-foot-6, 273 pound four-star offensive tackle from Northmont High School in Clayton, Ohio, is primarily focused on Georgia, Florida and UCLA, although he still plans to visit LSU and South Carolina officially.

UCLA, the lone West Coast and Pac-10 school in the bunch may seem out of place among these schools, but to Sanders, it makes perfect sense. "I grew up in South Carolina so I know all about football in the South," Sanders said. "My mom went to Georgia so I would hear all about them and all about how bad Florida is from her.

"But I also always followed UCLA," he said. "My dad said he wanted to go there for college and he taught me all about them. The main thing with them is their tradition. They are great in both football and basketball. They have tons of amazing history in sports and academics. It's just a great place."

Sanders, ranked as the No. 26 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com, has already taken official visits to both Florida (Sept. 15) and Georgia (Sept. 8), but hasn't scheduled a trip to Westwood yet. "I talked to both coach (offensive coordinator) Jay Norvell and (offensive line coach) Bob Connelly from UCLA yesterday and they said they want to get me up for a visit sometime during the winter.

"I'm really excited to go back there because it's been a while since I've been to the West Coast and I just want to get a better feel for the West Coast lifestyle. I want to get to know the players better and just spend some time on the campus and check out the city. I really want to get out on my own, but I want to live in a good college town-type area."

Sanders says that Georgia was his childhood favorite school and that the 'Dawgs and Gators are recruiting him the hardest. "I talk with both (Georgia) coach Mark Richt and (Florida) coach Urban Meyer every week," he said. "I watched the Florida/Georgia game on TV last week and both coaches told me they'd win the game. It was actually a really weird game to watch because I like both teams so much.

"When Georgia had the ball I was rooting for them to score and when Florida had the ball I wanted them to score," he said. "I knew I'd be happy with the outcome either way. Georgia actually surprised me a little. They passed more and played more aggressive than usual. They are having a great year and their wins over Florida and Alabama were big. They've really impressed me this year because they've shut a lot of people up and are now in a good position to be in Atlanta playing for the SEC championship."

While the Dawgs have impressed Sanders this season, he admits he likes the Gators upside for the future. "I think they have a great young team and they'll be playing for the national championship again soon," he said. "Once they get a little more experience they'll be a big threat. They've got a lot of top guys coming back next year and their running game should be stronger once Emmanuel Moody (USC transfer) starts.

"I'm excited about both Georgia and Florida because they both have young quarterbacks that I'd have a chance to play with," he said. "Plus, Florida runs a similar style offense as we do, so I think the transition would be easy."

Although Sanders says he's basically narrowed things down to those three, he still plans to visit either LSU or South Carolina for the weekend of Nov. 23. "I don't want to completely rule them out yet," he said. "The things I'm looking for in a school are the depth chart, their tradition, the location, the academics and how comfortable I feel there."

Northmont High School finished their regular season with a 7-3 record and they start the playoffs on Nov. 3 against Cincinnati Colerain.

He reports a 3.4 core GPA, a 1070 SAT and a 23 ACT.


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