When 2011 prospect Chris Sanders committed to play football for the University of Georgia, it was actually four days before national signing day for the Class of 2010. It also came on the same day that Deon Rogers de-committed to the Bulldogs and Da’Rick Rogers’ started kissing crystal balls in Knoxville. So Sanders’ news kind of got lost in the shuffle. We sat down with the 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety from Tucker this week to give the young man his due and learn a little more about him. It’s the first in a continuing series of 2011 prospect profiles for the AJC Recruiting Blog.
Q: So you were, of course, the first commitment for Georgia’s class of 2011. I believe you actually committed on Saturday, Jan. 30. That means it will be over a year before you actually sign a letter-of-intent. Why so early?
A: “I just wanted to get everything off my chest. It’s really where I wanted to go. I’ve been a Bulldog since I was younger. Everything about being a Bulldog is good to me. I looked at it like, I’ve been Bulldog all my life so I might as well take it.”
Q: Do you feel any special honor in being Georgia’s first commitment of 2010?
A: “Not really. I didn’t realize it, to tell you the truth. I just felt like I should go ahead and do it, so I did.”
Q: What does it mean to know you’ve got a college scholarship waiting on you and you haven’t even started your senior year yet?
A: “It makes me want to work harder and just go hard all the time. It motivates me.”
Q: What kinds of things are you doing to prepare?
A: “Me and James Vaughters and our quarterback, Norman Hayes, we have a personal trainer, Stephen Campbell over at Rockhard Fitness (of Tucker). We work out a few times a week. Stephen and Curtis Winters and the whole 58 Strong are the best.”
Q: 58 Strong?
A: “It’s the name of the workout group I train with.”
Q: What can you tell us about your background?
A: I was born in raised in Atlanta, in the Tucker-Stone Mountain area. I didn’t play football until I was 10 but loved it once I did. I used to play basketball but now I just run track and play football.”
Q: In what events do you compete in track?
A: “4×100, 4×400, long jump, triple jump. I just came from practice. Man it was cold!”
Q: What positions do you play in football at Tucker?
A: “I do it all. Safety, receiver, punter, punt returner, kick returner, kickoff. I pretty much stay on the field.”
A: “Yeah, I’m the punter.”
Q: Is it something you think you could do on the next level?
A: “Yeah, I really do. I average somewhere in the late 30s, 38 or 37 yards. I’d have to work on it but I think I could do it.”
Q: What is Georgia saying they want you to do?
A: “Georgia wants me as a safety. I kind of like that. They run that 3-4 now and that’s what we run so I feel like I’m familiar with it. I’m more of a centerfielder in our defense and can move all over the field to make plays on the ball.”
Q: Does it feel different to be a commitment now rather than a recruited prospect?
A: “Yeah, it feels different. I don’t hear from the other schools now, at least not that I know of. I guess they know I’m solid with Georgia and just stopped calling.”
Q: Have you shut down all other recruiting otherwise? No more visits or anything?
A: “Well, I’m supposed to go to Alabama on the 20th for their junior day. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go or not.”
Q: Are you due back at Georgia anytime soon?
A: “I’m going to UGA for their junior day on the 27th. I’m going with [fellow UGA commitments] Corey Moore and Amarlo Herrera, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Q: Did you know them before they committed?
A: “I’ve met them and we’ve exchanged texts but I’m looking forward to getting to know them better.”
Q: What is your relationship with your high-profile teammate, linebacker James Vaughters?
A: “We’re best friends. I’m trying to him to go to Georgia but he’s got other options.”
Q: I hear he’s got a lot of other options, like maybe 30 offers or so?
A: “He’s probably up there around 25 or 30. Pretty much everybody wants him.”
Q: Do you think your Dogs stand a chance with him?
A: “Oh yeah. I think this will be a strong class. That’s what I’m telling him. I believe we will win a championship up there if we get all the best players from Georgia to come. That’s what me and Corey and Amarlo are telling everybody.”
Q: There’s been a lot of Tucker guys come to Athens, hasn’t there?
A: “Yes, sir, the Tucker pipeline. Thomas Brown, Asher Allen, Patrick Pass. I’d like to keep the tradition going on and on and on. Asher and me are close. We’ve done some camps together and we get together and work on fundamentals. We’ve got to keep that going.”