Posted: 10:35 pm Monday, January 27th, 2014
By Michael Carvell
UGA picked up commit No. 18 on Monday when Tucker High School defensive back Dominick Sanders committed to the Bulldogs.
Sanders, the younger brother of former UGA defensive back Chris Sanders, pledged to the Bulldogs after an in-home visit with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Monday night.
“Georgia was always my dream offer,” Sanders said. “It’s amazing how everything worked out.”
It was a roller-coaster couple of days for Sanders. He committed to UCF last weekend, but both sides decided it was best to part ways after Sanders returned from an official visit to Auburn on Sunday.
“It was a long couple of days,” Tucker coach Bryan Lamar told the AJC. “He was excited and relieved about Georgia. It has been a roller-coaster ride. At the end of day, though, the kid is going where he wants to go. It is good for both sides.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder got a long-awaited offer from UGA on Monday, and committed on the same day – even before going on his official visit with the Bulldogs scheduled for Friday.
“I felt like it hit me really deep when they offered,” Sanders said. “I had always said if Georgia ever came in on me, that was the offer I was going to take. I have been down there a million times, and it was the place I liked. I really felt good about it. It’s just a blessing.”
Sanders is rated as a 3-star and the state’s No. 73 overall prospect, per 247sports composite rankings. He will play either safety or cornerback at UGA, along with special teams as a returner.
His older brother, Chris Sanders, starred at Tucker and was one of the state’s top prospects for 2011. He signed with UGA but was dismissed after his freshman season for violating team rules. The elder Sanders attended a pair of junior colleges to get things back together, signing with Baylor last month.
“My brother congratulated me on committing to Georgia,” Dominick said. “He has always had said good things about Georgia. He’s thinks it a good school with good coaches. He said he just made some mistakes, and it was a bad thing to happen. But he’s worked hard to bounce back, and he’s proud of me for going to Georgia.”
This past season, Sanders was the best player on a Tucker team that reached the Class AAAAA state championship game — and was loaded with at least a dozen players holding major-college offers. As a senior, Sanders rushed for 567 yards and 12 touchdowns, passed for three touchdowns, and returned a pair of punts for touchdowns. Sanders also played at his best in the big games, including two scoring receptions in the championship loss to Creekside.
But for reasons that didn’t make much sense, Sanders was mostly ignored by bigger colleges until the last few weeks. We wrote in August that he was easily “one of the state’s most underrated” prospects.
It took a fresh pair of eyes from UGA (with Pruitt) to make the Bulldogs finally move forward.
“It was one of those weird things in recruiting,” Lamar explained. “It was like everybody was wondering why the kid is available, so everybody was reserved.
“Finally, you get a situation where you get a new guy in, like Coach Pruitt, who really takes a good look and says ‘This is exactly what we need.’ Pruitt was just like ‘I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand why everybody is not all over this kid.’
“I didn’t understand it either. It’s the kind of thing that makes you second-guess the whole recruiting process. But it worked out in the end. Georgia got a good one. Dominick is a good kid, he’s hard worker, and he just makes things happen on a football field.”
Sanders also disputed a report by 247sports.com’s UCF website that his scholarship was “pulled” after “he did not inform anyone on the staff that he was taking other visits.”
“UCF knew about the visit before I went, yes sir,” Sanders said. “And I let them know I had a home visit with Georgia tonight. They wanted to know what would happen if Georgia offered me tonight, and when I gave them my answer, they had to do what they did. It’s all good, though. UCF is a good school, and everything worked out for the best.”
Sanders will take an official visit to UGA on Friday.
This snowstorm will major impact on recruiting. Schools closing across GA for Tues & Wed with NSD 9 days away
— Michael Carvell (@Carvell_AJC) January 27, 2014
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TO UNDERSTAND THE BIG PICTURE