football Edit

Bellville DT DJ Sanders is a hot commodity, but still a man of mystery

DJ Sanders is one of the country’s top prospects, but is still somewhat a man of mystery. The standout from Bellville holds 22 offers, but he has yet to fully invest himself in the recruiting process. He has a highlight film that shows him making plays in the backfield, from sideline to sideline, stripping and ripping the ball and returning it for scores. Sanders is often times a man among boys at the high school level. Simply put, the Rivals250 member has limitless upside as Bellville head coach Grady Rowe pointed out this week.

"First off, his athletic ability, everybody sees that,” Rowe said. “Right now, he’s 6-3, 315 pounds, but he’s light on his feet, can move. That’s the first thing that sticks out, that he can move, can bend. He’s just so athletic. And then he’s explosive at the same time. You don’t see a lot of 300-pounders that can move like he can move.”


When it comes to recruiting, Sanders is a bit of a riddle. He’s not very active on social media. He’s not one who craves the media attention. He has taken a handful of visits to in-state programs, but he’s still sorting through any upcoming spring visits and official visits. It’s not that recruiting isn’t important to Sanders, it’s just more of his personality to not have a need to soak up the spotlight.

“He’s a great kid, number one,” Rowe said. “He’s not a big-time talker. Sometimes I wish he was a little more into recruiting than he is, but he doesn’t take it for granted. He’s not one I have to worry about getting a big head. A lot of times, when you have four- and five-star guys, you worry about them getting a big head, not play for the team. That’s the furthest thing away from him. That’s just not him. He’s just a good kid.”

"You don’t see a lot of 300-pounders that can move like he can move."
— Bellville head coach Grady Rowe

Programs like Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and USC (among others) have already offered. As good as Sanders is at this young stage of his career, there’s still room for improvement.

“I think just technique-wise, that’s a big thing (to improve on),” Rowe said. “He’s so much bigger and stronger than everybody. He just needs to keep developing some different moves, continue to hit the weight room and get stronger, because he’s so athletic and big.”

Sanders’ athleticism isn’t only evident on the football field. He was a first-team all-district basketball player in 2023 and a regional qualifier in the shot put.

“A lot of colleges came through last year, saw him playing basketball and said ‘That’s a no-brainer, coach.’ You don’t see many 300-pounders that can get up and dunk, bounce around like that,” Rowe said.

On the recruiting front, Sanders is keeping an open mind to all of his options. Coach Rowe said not to pay attention to any early predictions, because Sanders doesn’t tell anyone what he’s thinking when it comes to recruiting and he really doesn’t have an idea of where he’s leaning.

“He’ll narrow things down. He’s gone on several different visits to different places. We actually laugh at the reports that come out right now, like a report that he’s 90 percent going somewhere,” Rowe said. “He hasn’t told anybody anything. You ask him, he’ll tell you, ‘I’m open.’”

A four-star prospect, Sanders checks in at No. 132 on the Rivals250. He ranks No. 7 in the state of Texas regardless of position and is the country’s No. 8-ranked defensive tackle prospect.