USC coach Will Muschamp loves to uncover hidden gems inside the state. That is, players he likes who do not have many offers or stars by their names. He stepped up and offered one of those Sunday in DT TJ Sanders (6-4 285) of Marion. Sanders came to campus Sunday, the first day of the new live period, watched practice and got his offer from Muschamp and new defensive tackles coach Tracy Rocker.
“I’ve been a fan of them since growing up,” Sanders said. “My defensive coordinator has been trying to get me recruited because last year was my first year playing football in high school. South Carolina, I guess they liked what they saw. A lot of their recruiters started following me on Twitter and invited me to a spring practice today (Sunday). They were all texting me telling me they would love to have me up there. They were texting me all week and Coach Rocker even called me a couple of times. We I got up there, they were just showing a lot of love. When I heard Coach Muschamp tell me he was offering me a scholarship, it was amazing.”
Sanders, who also is a basketball player, made quite an impression in his initial season of football. He said he made approximately 54 tackles and had 24 sacks. And Rocker obviously liked what he saw of him on film.
“He likes that I have the combination of speed and power,” Sanders said. “When I watched him in practice, his tone and attitude towards stuff, he sounded like he wanted it, like he was playing.”
Now that Sanders is on the board with his first offer, he’s looking for more. Syracuse invited him to a junior day this Saturday but he doesn’t think he’ll make that. He is planning to go to Coastal Carolina’s spring game Thursday. He also plans to visit Wake Forest this spring and to return to USC for the spring game. Sanders also is hearing from Tennessee and South Florida.
So, though he got that big offer from the Gamecocks, he’s not ready to make a decision.
“I’m going to see how it all plays out,” Sanders said. “It was my visit for football and I’m just trying to look things over and see how the process goes.”
Sanders led the Swamp Foxes to the basketball state playoffs. In that sport, he said he’s considered a high D2 prospect. His focus for college will be on football but he said he wouldn’t mind playing both sports.