Saunders Talks USC Commitment
"Everything went good. I committed to South Carolina," said Saunders. "They have great coaching down there, and it was just me wanting to get away from home. I can get a fresh start and go to a competitive conference."
The 6'5, 270 pound Saunders chose the Gamecocks over the home state Tar Heels, but he said that he did not come to his final decision until the night before his announcement.
"I started to know sometime last week. I kind of new in my head then, but I wanted to sleep on it some more over the weekend. When Sunday night came, I was pretty sure it was going to be South Carolina."
An important factor in Saunders' decision to become a Gamecock was his comfort level with Coach Spurrier and the potential to be a playmaker from the tight end spot in USC's offense.
"Everybody's been talking about how (Coach Spurrier) doesn't pass to his tight ends, but he told me that he hasn't had a real effective tight end to throw to. He showed me how he plans to get me the ball, and I trusted him on that."
Saunders, who is rated as the #18 tight end prospect in the nation by Scout.com, is optimistic about his chances for early playing time in Columbia.
"They said I'm going to have a good chance to play early. I'll just try to take things as they come and go down there and work hard."
With the addition of Saunders, USC has now landed five out of the top sixteen prospects in the state of North Carolina this year, and Saunders said that seeing that crop of talent leaving the Tar Heel State for Columbia played an important role in his decision to attend South Carolina.
"That let me know that guys weren't scared to leave home, and a lot of the guys that are committed are good buddies of mine. That was a good thing for me and that helped a lot too."
The Scout.com 4-star rated prospect also has several friends that will be joining him at USC, which made going out of state an easier choice.
"Yeah, that played a big part in my decision. Mark Barnes is one of my good friends and Jason Barnes and Chris Culliver definitely. Travian Robertson is another one of my good friends."
When asked what Gamecock fans can expect to see out of him on the gridiron in the coming years, Saunders gave an enthusiastic reply.
"Hopefully they'll see more big plays and a lot of wins with an SEC Championship."
Saunders closed by sharing a message with the Gamecock faithful.
"I believe that we can do something special with the group of guys that's going down there. We're going to bring the Gamecocks to the top."
Saunders, who totaled 58 catches for over 700 yards in his senior season, becomes the Gamecocks 31st commitment in the 2007 recruiting class.
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