Four-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge, the headliner of the 2018 South Carolina recruiting class, has a tough pair of critics at home in Concord, N.C.
Meet Keshia and Rick, Junior’s mom and dad.
Obviously, they think the world of their oldest son, but they’re grounded enough to temper their excitement, as Junior prepares for the jump from high school superstar to college freshman.
“[Junior is] good, but he can be great,” Senior said. “Just looking forward to great things, because he is good, but he can be great, because I expect him to be great. … It’s going to be a challenge, but he can do it.”
Mom’s perspective isn’t any different.
“I’m really hard on my kid, so I expect for him to not be lazy, to get up and get off his butt and [run to] the ball, even if it doesn’t run towards him,” Keshia said, “And I expect him to play well.”
One might be safe in assuming that those perspectives helped convince South Carolina coach Will Muschamp that it was worth pursuing Junior for more than half of his career at Concord High School.
“[Muschamp] said it since Day 1. He told me, ‘I’m not taking no for an answer. Even if you tell me no, you’re my guy.’ He was the only head coach that came to see [Junior] play at Concord High,” Senior said. “When he could text and call, he did.
“For a head coach to come on like that, it was amazing. It was amazing.”
Running backs coach Bobby Bentley, the area recruiter, “was pretty good, too,” same with defensive line coach Lance Thompson.
“They did a good job. They did a really good job,” Senior said. “And mom being an alumnus from South Carolina helped out, too.”
But here’s a little secret, Gamecock fans.
“I wasn’t into football,” Keshia said. “When I went there, I couldn’t stand going to football games, because it was packed and there were people everywhere. I’m like, does it have to be this many people? We couldn’t get through the streets. I’ve never been a football person.
“It’s only because of [Junior] that I care about this sport.”
And she made that very clear to South Carolina’s head coach, who left no stone unturned in his pursuit of the 4-star prospect.
“Just coach Muschamp took [Junior] and took our family as a whole, he recruited every single last one of us, from my youngest daughter all the way up to my husband, and I really enjoyed that,” Keshia said. “We really enjoyed it and it just feels like it’s the best fit for [Junior], as it relates to him growing into a man.”
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