Saunders Loses Battle of D1 Athletes

In a game that showcased at least four Division I-A recruits, Durham (N.C.) Hillside walked away with a 36-9 victory over Durham (N.C.) Riverside.

"I think we could have done a whole lot better," said Weslye Saunders, who played tight end, defensive end and quarterback for Riverside. "Our team didn't know how to react to them double and triple teaming me like that. Nobody stepped up and made plays. So that kind of hurt us a little bit.

"During the game, we were kind of shell shocked being we were playing against Jon [Smith] and Greg [Little] and all these D1 athletes. They were kind of in ‘awe' instead of playing football."

Unlike his teammates, Saunders, a 6-foot-6 270-pound jumbo athlete, wasn't intimidated by Hillside's roster.

"I wasn't really impressed by [them being Division I-A prospects]," said Saunders. "I thought we needed to go out there and play ball."

Saunders caught four passes for 45 yards. He also scored Riverside's lone touchdown, a three-yard run.

Among those in attendance was John Bunting and the North Carolina coaching staff.

"They were at the game Friday," said Saunders. "The whole coaching staff actually came and saw my coach during school [Friday]."

Recruiting wise, Saunders is in the middle of taking and scheduling official visits.

"I'm getting ready for my official visit next week with Penn State [October 14th against Michigan] and trying to get an official set up for South Carolina," said Saunders. "[I'm looking at] December 1st [for my official visit to USC]. I just got off the phone with Coach [Fred] Chatham and he said December 1st is when they're bringing in all the big-time guys, so he wants me to come and make it up for that one."

In addition to USC, Saunders is attempting to setup an official visit with Wake Forest.

Saunders has, however, completed his first official visit when he visited Louisville a couple weekends back.

"It was great, actually," said Saunders. "It was a lot better than I expected. I had a lot of fun out there.

"The fan base up there, they just went crazy – kind of like the SEC. The academics up there aren't as strong as I want them to be, but Coach [Bobby] Petrino has been up there for four years and you can tell it's on the up-and-up. It wasn't that they beat Miami, it was how much they threw to the tight end."

Saunders isn't sure what school will get his fifth and final official visit, but has stated it won't be former leader North Carolina.

"I told [North Carolina] I probably wouldn't want to take one there, because I've been there so much," said Saunders. "I've been to the Virginia Tech game and Rutgers game, so far. They didn't look too pretty in either one of those games. I'll probably go back for the N.C. State game or the Duke-Carolina game."

Originally, Saunders was looking at making a verbal commitment at his homecoming game, but with time quickly running out he has abandoned that idea. He now hopes to have his recruitment out of the way shortly after his official visit to South Carolina.

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