NEW ORLEANS -- Sam Pittman has an eye for talent.
That much is an understatement for Georgia's fourth-year offensive line coach, who is assembling a star-studded haul of big men in the 2020 class.
And now, Pittman's found his anchor.
Sedrick Van Pran, a Rivals100 lineman and the No. 1 center in the country, committed to Georgia on Saturday night, putting the bow on a recruiting process that truly kicked off with an offer from Pittman and eventually involved Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Alabama as it approached the finish line.
Van Pran made the decision to commit to the Dawgs ahead of his senior season to focus his attention away from recruiting and solely onto capturing a state championship. He's the fourth offensive linemen inside the Rivals100 to commit to Georgia in a collection that features five linemen ranked inside the Rivals250.
From the outside looking in, Van Pran is the metaphorical cherry on top of an illustrious offensive line class in 2020. To Pittman, however, he's the anchor.
"Their biggest thing is to be the anchor," Van Pran explained to Rivals. "They know I'm a highly-recruited guy. When I get there, they want me to be the leader on the team. They also believe I can help get more guys on board, but they really think I can help (by) being the anchor and leading them."
Before Van Pran was the anchor, he was a recently converted defensive lineman making his first trip out to Athens to privately work out for Pittman prior to his junior year.
Even though he was new to the offensive line, Van Pran grabbed the attention of Georgia's offensive line coach. Pittman offered -- even though Kirby Smart was not available to sign off on it. Pittman defied the rules because he had discovered a star in the making, which paid off almost two years later.
"Georgia reached out to one of our coaches, who said they really liked me and wanted me to come up for camp," Van Pran recalled. "I went up to camp and at first, it was a little hard for me to breathe with the air, but I adjusted. I had a private workout with Coach Pittman. Coach Kirby Smart wasn't there at the time, and he was supposed to go through Coach Smart, but he told me that he (Smart) trusted him and he was gonna offer me on the spot and I really appreciated that."
Now, Van Pran is the No. 72-ranked prospect in the country and the top-ranked center. Naturally, that type of recruitment comes with all the bells and whistles.
Soon after Pittman made his move for Van Pran, the rest of the SEC caught on rather quickly. Ole Miss, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Auburn, Mississippi State, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M and Kentucky all followed suit.
Georgia's early interest was always a factor, but Oklahoma made a surge in the spring. Alabama grabbed momentum in the spring and Van Pran admittedly almost came close to committing. An official visit to Texas A&M opened Van Pran's eyes to even more opportunities to life after football.
However, a very quiet trip back to Athens led to Van Pran witnessing Smart in action on a slip-and-slide. That's the same coach who played Van Pran's pre-game pump-up music to open up a practice one Saturday earlier in the spring. The 1-2 punch of Pittman and Smart made Georgia the obvious choice, and more importantly, made committing an easy call.
"Coach Pittman is different, man," Van Pran began. "I really like Coach Pitt. He's very real, up-front and he's been on me since Day 1. He wants me, and I know he has a job to do, but at the end of the day I know he loves me ... I love Coach Smart. I believe he's one of the best head coaches to play for. He coaches for the players. I remember him on the water slide, in his cargo shorts, a polo and loafers on the slip-and-slide with us. You can tell he loves his players and cares about them. I love that guy."