Louisville, South Carolina, N.C. State, and East Carolina round out the remainder of Saunders' top five. Each of the aforementioned schools – plus Clemson – have offered.
While previous visits paved the way, it was last Thursday's visit to Chapel Hill that crowned the Tar Heels as Saunders' new leader.
"I was favoring them before the visit, but they weren't my top pick," said Saunders. "I went there yesterday and met the football players and stuff and just got a good feeling."
During the visit Saunders spent time with members of the coaching staff and fellow recruits Greg Little and UNC commit Jonathan Smith.
"It went pretty good," said Saunders. "I went down there with Greg Little. We ate dinner, they showed us around the campus a little bit, and watched a little film. It was awesome."
A jumbo athlete, Saunders' 6-foot-5 frame matched with his ability makes him a viable option at many positions at the next level. North Carolina is primarily recruiting him at defensive end with possible time on offense.
"Probably defensive end, but Coach [Kenny] Browning said they are looking at me on both sides of the ball," said Saunders. "That really stuck out to me, that they want me to play both sides of the ball. They also said they are looking at me playing early."
Over the summer Saunders will revisit North Carolina for their camp, while also camping at N.C. State and Notre Dame.
As a junior at Durham (N.C.) Riverside, Saunders earned all-region and all-conference honors after recording 20 catches for 308 yards and six touchdowns at tight end, and 52 tackles, four sacks, 14 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles at defensive end.
During the Shrine Bowl Combine held in Fayetteville on Saturday, Saunders posted solid numbers. After measuring in at 6-foot-5 and 269 pounds, Saunders clocked relatively fast times in the 40-yard dash and 20-yard shuttle – 4.83 seconds and 4.49 seconds, respectively. He also recorded a 27.3-inch vertical and 12 bench repetitions of 185 pounds.