College scouts will be converging on Greer High School quite a bit next season. The Yellow Jackets boast arguably one of the state's top defenses regardless of classification with plenty of star power. Heading up the 2011 class are DE Mario Sanders, LB Will Sales, and CB/RB Dakari Sitton. Sanders has already landed his first scholarship offer from ACC country and he sat down and talked at length with SCPrepNation.com about his recruitment.
Colleges have been showering Sanders with tons of mail and attention over the past year. His first offer came in quite some time ago as the Duke Blue Devils extended the Greer star a scholarship offer. Being that Duke was the first to offer would that help the Blue Devils in the long run?
"I feel blessed to have acquired this scholarsip. It holds a special place in my heart, but I am open minded to other schools," Sanders told us.
Sanders had this to say when asked about his feelings about the Duke program and the direction the new staff has there in Durham. "Duke may lose games but they improve every week. This trait is allowing them to become a true force in the ACC."
The Blue Devils are just one a few schools that are showing Sanders plenty of attention currently. "I hear a lot from North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Duke, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Alabama, South Carolina, Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA, Michigan, and Michigan State"
"Out of those schools I'd say Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina are recruiting me the hardest at this point."
Sanders also named an early top 5 of his favorites at this point and spoke about what he likes most about the schools he's visited already.
"It's still early but I'd say Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Georgia, and South Carolina are my top five right now. I've visited Duke, Clemson, South Carolina, and Georgia so far."
Duke: Loyal crowd, academic atmosphere, coaching staff who wants to and strives to win
Clemson: Large crowd, college town, great coaching staff who has handled adversity
South Carolina: Large crowd and a legendary coach
Georgia: Chance to play between the hedges, facilities, great coaching staff
Sanders had 60 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 blocked field goal, and 28 hurries this past season for the Yellow Jackets.
Asked to reflect back on his top performances from this season and Sanders replied, "My games against Clinton and Chester are probably tied for my best game because I mounted 6 tackles, and a sack at Clinton and then 11 tackles at Chester. Those games are memorable because of the high level of competition I played against such as the running back from Clinton and Chester's QB Tony McNeal and his offensive line with Kalon Davis and R.J. Canty."
Diversity may be one of Sanders' biggest attributes as he's lined up all over the field for Greer.
"I'm able to play multiple positions. I've played at DE, DT, LB, TE, and WR. I think that, my speed off the corners, having good hands, and good feet are some of my strengths on the field."
Sanders says this offseason he will work on numerous aspects of his game but will work feverishly especially when it comes to getting stronger and faster.
A true student of the game Sanders makes no bones about some of his favorite players to watch and learn from. "I watch guys like Justin Tuck, Brian Orkapo, Julius Peppers, and Demarcus Ware. I take parts of their game and try to combine it with my game to improve and become a hybrid DE."
As we mentioned before the Yellow Jackets defense will be loaded with talent next season and Sanders apparently feels the same way.
"I'm pumped because most of us are seniors and this is our last run for state and I like our chances. Our goal as a team is to win the state championship. For myself on a personal level it's to become a better player and also to help my teammates become better too."
Sanders is also very clear as to what factors will bear the most importance for him when it comes time to make a decision for college. "Education, education, education, facilities, coaching staff, and early playing time."
As of right now he intends on waiting until National Signing Day before making a decision. Sanders also says he'll be active on the camp and combine circuit this offseason to go and compete against other top prospects.
Stay tuned to SCPrepNation.com as we'll continue to bring you the very latest regarding Mario Sanders' recruitment right here! Check out Sanders' junior film at the very bottom by clicking the video player.
Inside The Numbers...Mario Sanders
Bench press max: 240 pounds
Squat max: 400 pounds
Power clean max: 265 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.6 seconds
Favorite food: Soul food
Favorite subject in school: Science
Favorite football player: Julius Peppers
Favorite NFL team: New Orleans Saints
Favorite thing to do when not playing football: Learn Dream date would be to go out with: Alicia Keys