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Five-Star Plus+ OT David Sanders breaks down role of NIL in recruitment

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos05/28/24


David Sanders has a major month of official visits on tap in June.

The 6-foot-6, 276-pound offensive lineman is the top uncommitted prospect in the 2025 class. He’s slated to visit ClemsonGeorgiaTennesseeAlabama and Ohio State. The Five-Star Plus+ prospect kicked off his visit schedule at South Carolina and also checked out Nebraska.

As the No. 2 overall player in the 2025 recruiting class, Sanders isn’t naive. He’s received some notable NIL offers in the last 12 months as his recruitment has heated up. But with the help from his parents, he’s been able to keep his recruitment focused on football.

“I think it’s been pretty good,” Sanders told On3 on Tuesday at the On3 Elite Series. “My parents handle most of my NIL stuff with WME and everything like that. I think it’s been really good. They know it’s a good corporation to be under, so they’ve been a great help.”

David Sanders signed with WME for NIL representation in November 2023. WME works with a range of NIL stars, including Livvy Dunne and Evan Stewart.

With the preliminary injunction against the NCAA allowing booster-funded NIL collectives to communicate with high school recruits, having representation has become imperative for top recruits in recent months.

He’s coming off a trip to Tennessee but also has an official visit to Knoxville still on the docket. He grew up as a Clemson fan, but as his recruitment has continued to ramp up, other schools entered the picture. The Tigers are not out of the mix yet.

Sanders will be an early enrollee and wants to play the role of recruiter for whichever pledge list he opts for. Academics will also be a major factor, as Sanders hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon by the time his football-playing days are behind him.

“For sure that’s a big deal,” Sanders said when asked about the role of NIL. “I feel like you need to live your now, and if you’re a top-rated guy in your class, then you deserve to get what you can get. You deserve to get it then, and then you can get it in the NFL as well. But I feel like development is going to play a big piece of your decision. You don’t want to go somewhere where all they’re offering for you is money, rather than someplace where their offer will come with the development piece where you know you go there do your thing and get to the next level.

“I think it’s a fair balance.”

David Sanders knows a lot about his top schools

David Sanders also emphasized he’s already familiar with the schools still on his board. He already has a connection with coaches and knows his way around facilities. And he knows which schools will set him apart academically.

Finding the best personal connection and fit will make a difference in his decision. Sanders knows the dollars will follow wherever he lands. That’s part of being the No. 2 recruit in the 2025 class. He’s starting to build out a brand, too, with nearly 20,000 social media followers.

“Honestly, that’s more important for me – the football side of it, the academic side of it and just me feeling comfortable within that facility and with the coaches more than NIL,” David Sanders said. “One hundred percent.

“I feel like NIL is obviously a process just because you’re a top-rated guy in your class and it’s going to happen, but overall you want to go somewhere where you’re going to get developed and you’re going to be surrounded by the right guys.”