South Carolina recruiting: Shrine Bowl updates from Rick Sandidge, K.J. Henry

ROEBUCK, S.C. – Several South Carolina recruiting targets from the Class of 2018 are practicing for the Shrine Bowl this week at Dorman High School.

Two of the headlining players on the North Carolina team play along the defensive line: 5-star end K.J. Henry (Clemmons-West Forsyth) and 4-star tackle Rick Sandidge (Concord).

South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan and Florida occupy spots inside Sandidge’s top 5. He’ll take official visits to those schools in January. The dates have been set, but he didn’t know them off the top of his head.

“They’ve been recruiting me hard and I’ve been there a lot of times,” Sandidge said of the Gamecocks. “That helps out a lot.”

He added, “I just have a really good time when I go there.”

Running backs coach Bobby Bentley serves as the primary recruiter, but defensive line coach Lance Thompson has played a key a role in Sandidge’s recruitment to South Carolina.

“I have a good relationship with [Thompson]. I’ve had a good relationship for about 2.5 years, so it’s really just getting to know him more as a coach,” Sandidge said.

If he’s not invited to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game, the Shrine Bowl on Saturday will be the final game of his high school career. Henry’s also set to play in the Under Armour All-American Bowl next month in Orlando.

Henry’s college decision will be revealed on Dec. 20 at 4:20 p.m. on ESPN. South Carolina is in the mix with Clemson, Georgia, Virginia Tech and, to a lesser extent, Alabama.

Gamecock coach Will Muschamp has pitched Henry on the idea of “being a trailblazer there.”

“Just like Jadeveon Clowney and guys like that,” Henry said. “The fact that they made progress over the last couple of years, which you can see in their record.”

Plus, out all the head coaches that are recruiting him, Henry has the most contact with Muschamp.

“He’s taking my recruitment straight in his hands and I know he’s a defensive head coach,” Henry said. “That speaks a lot to that school.”

Alabama was supposed to have him for an official visit last weekend, but those plans were changed at the last minute. The Tide are putting non-committed outside linebackers “on the backburner,” because several defensive backs are expected to leave early for the NFL.

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