The 2014 recruiting class for Georgia is currently on campus working out with veteran members of the team so they can be prepared for preseason practice, which will start at the beginning of August.
And with the veterans working with the rookies, there’s going to be that one player that stands out above the rest. Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph got a chance to speak to Todd Gurley and Ramik Wilson, and they both agreed that Dominick Sanders is the player that fans need to keep their eye on during the season.
Freshman safety Dominick Sanders' name mentioned by players here. "He's going to push for somebody's spot," Ramik Wilson said.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) July 17, 2014
But who is Sanders? Where did he come from and why is he making an impact already?
Sanders was not really on the Bulldogs radar at the start of the recruiting season last year. In fact, Sanders committed to UCF in mid-January and did not have UGA anywhere on his final list of schools. But when Sanders de-committed from UCF, the Bulldogs, along with Auburn and Missouri, made a last-minute offer. And, at the end of the day, Sanders decided to play in his home state.
247 Sports has Sanders listed as a three-star prospect from Tucker, Georgia. He has good ball skills and pretty good speed. But what makes him stand out, and the reason he’s getting praise from his Bulldog teammates, is that he has the ability to make plays.
Sanders will play the safety position in Athens, but, when he was at Tucker High School, he played running back, quarterback, receiver, kick return and cornerback to go along with safety. As a running back, Sanders rushed for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a receiver, he led the team with 273 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for 126 yards and three touchdowns, but defense was his strong point, as he led the team and DeKalb County with eight interceptions.
This isn’t the first time a Sanders has impressed the UGA masses. Dominick is the younger brother of Chris Sanders, who drew similar praise as a freshman three years ago. The elder Sanders got hampered by injuries his freshman year and was dismissed from the team the following February for a theft incident that involved Sanford Seay and current Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.
But if Dominick Sanders is able to stay healthy and keep his nose clean, he will have a great chance to see some playing time this season. The only two safeties on the roster that have significant experience are Corey Moore and Quincy Mauger. And new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt has made it clear that true and redshirt freshmen will be thrown into the fire if they do well in practice.
The question is will Sanders push for a starting spot? Odds are that he will not be part of the starting lineup when the Bulldogs take the field against Clemson. But, if he keeps working, learning and growing, there is no reason he won’t be part of the safety rotation, and that will lead to a chance for him to be a starter in 2015.