Big Night for Saunders

DURHAM, N.C. --- After opening the evening with his Shrine Bowl selection announcement, Weslye Saunders and his Durham (N.C.) Riverside teammates were able to squeeze out a 19-18 conference victory over Durham (N.C.) Southern on Monday's Senior Night.

"It feels good to pull this out," said Saunders. "Shrine Bowl is a big honor, too, but it was important to beat Southern. It was the first time that we've beat them since I've been here. Next we have to focus on East Chapel Hill and get to 5-2 in conference."

Saunders, a 6-foot-5 270-pound jumbo athlete, saw significant time at tight end, but he never missed a play on defense.

"I'm not sure what Coach's motives were on [me playing more defense than offense], but I wanted to play more offense to tell you the truth," said Saunders. "I think they really needed me more for a pass rush on defense. To avoid the big play, I think we needed a pass rush more than anything."

Although Saunders recorded only one sack, he hurried the quarterback on a few occasions. He also collected eight tackles including four solo.

Offensively, he caught five passes for 29 yards and a 19-yard touchdown in which he fought his way into the end zone.

"Not complaining about the coaches or anything, but I don't get the ball enough," said Saunders. "So when I get the ball I got to make something happen. So when I got the ball [before the touchdown] I was thinking touchdown. I wasn't going to let anything stop me, if I could help it."

Recruiting has gotten hectic for Saunders. He recently received two more scholarship offers (Minnesota and Colorado) and is in the process of scheduling more official visits.

"I set my official visit to South Carolina for December 1st," said Saunders. "Florida State, I'm trying to get one set up with them, and I might get one worked out with Clemson and Wake Forest."

Saunders took his first official visit in mid-September to Louisville.

As for North Carolina, his former leader? Originally, Saunders didn't feel an official visit was necessary given his familiarity with the school and coaching staff. Now, however, the coaching change has things up in the air.

"I talked to some of the coaches and they just told me to keep North Carolina in consideration," said Saunders. "I'm just going to wait to see who they bring in."

Saunders admitted that the Tar Heels' chances have been hurt.

"I had a good relationship with Coach Bunting, I really liked the coaching staff," said Saunders. "A lot depends on who they bring in next. But, I think [relieving Bunting of his head coaching duties] hurt them a little bit, because it's not the same comfort level."

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