BUFORD - Buford senior T.J. Pridemore traveled plenty to visit his five favorite schools but eventually chose the one closest to home.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker committed to Georgia Tech on Monday night, choosing the Yellow Jackets over West Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Duke. He had scholarship offers from all five schools.
"I like that it's close to home, and the academics are great," said Pridemore, whose father Tom played at West Virginia and for the Atlanta Falcons. "I know what I want to major in, and they have a good program for it. It's a combination between business management and civil engineering."
Pridemore is the fourth Buford senior to commit to a Division I-A college football team, joining Omar Hunter (Notre Dame), Demetris Murray (South Florida) and Alex Hunt (Indiana). The total is one off the Buford record of five I-A signees in a single year, which was set in 2004 when Darius Walker (Notre Dame), Ryan Wood (Duke), Neil Brown (Auburn), Kyle Manley (Georgia Tech) and Zach Smith (Duke) moved on to high-level programs.
Pridemore's next step will be the ACC, where his older brother Matt plays defensive back for Duke.
"It's going to be a lot of fun (to play in the ACC)," Pridemore said. "I'll be playing my brother, that will be fun. And the ACC's a really competitive conference to be in."
A three-year starter, Pridemore made 115 tackles as a junior with 15 quarterback pressures.
"(Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon) Tenuta loves him because he's fast, he's physical and he's smart," Buford head coach Jess Simpson said of Pridemore. "Those three things jump out on tape about him."