Tommy Sanders speaks about his uncle.
He's short and to the point on most other topics, but not about Uncle Jerome. There's plenty to say about him. According to Sanders, Jerome is the reason he's a recruited junior college prospect. He's the reason Sanders will be heading to a Division-I campus in the near future. He's the reason Sanders is living his dream
"He played a big role in my life," Sander said. "I grew up in his house and trained with him in Tennessee. He was a big part of helping me get back on track. He kept me focused and helped me be the best I could be on and off the field. I just wanted to dedicate this to him."
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And so Sanders has decided to honor him on the two-year anniversary of his passing by taking the next step in his football career. A decision date of Dec. 12 has been set and the announcement will come in memoriam of his mentor.
Ohio State, Texas A&M and Mississippi State are the three finalists to secure Sanders' commitment on Wednesday. He's not naming a favorite until the time comes to make a choice, though. At this point, the linebacker has flipped into information-protection mode.
Even when asked about his weekend trip to Ohio State, the final official visit he'll take, Sanders is careful not to tip his hand. His takes are muffled and his opinions are watered down.
If the stoic persona is designed to create mystery, it's doing a bang-up job.
"It was nice," Sanders said of the Buckeyes' campus. "I enjoyed myself. I met the coaches and met the athletic department people. We went to a basketball game and walked around the campus."
The catch is, of course, that Sanders already has his mind made up. Anything he says about any school at this point will be filtered in an attempt to protect secrecy.
And more importantly to protect the tribute he has planned for later this week.
"I just want to honor my uncle," Sanders said. "I'm going to wait and be committed on Wednesday."
This season, Sanders notched 63 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and a pair of interceptions. He helped lead Butler to an appearance in the national championship game.