Saunders Brings Tons of Potential at TE

Freshman tight end Weslye Saunders arrived at USC with the reputation of being an athletic jumbo athlete, but the former 4-star rated prospect has surpassed expectations thus far with his natural playmaking ability at the tight end position. Read inside for Saunders' comments on his adjustment to the college level, his goals for the 2007 season and much, much more. recently caught up with tight end Weslye Saunders, and he shared his thoughts on the upcoming season:

Question: You've been on campus for over a month now, so how has the adjustment gone with school, the summer workouts and now fall practice?

Answer: It's going pretty good. It was kind of tough at first with class starting the exact same time that workouts started, but now we're starting to get in the groove of things and get used to it a little bit.

Question: What's it like being out at practice so far? What's the difference between the high school level and the college level?

Answer: Speed, of course. Coach (Fred) Chatham pointed out to me that I'm going to have to go hard every play. That's going to be a big adjustment, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Question: What do you feel you still need to improve on at the tight end position?

Answer: My conditioning for one, running my routes and getting a feel for the defense.

Question: Have any of the older tight ends kind of taken you under their wing and shown you the ropes?

Answer: Andy Boyd, Robert Pavlovic, and Jared Cook have pretty much helped me out and shown me a lot of things so far.

Question: I know you played a lot of different positions in high school, so what's it like being able to focus on one position now at tight end?

Answer: It's actually a lot better. I can focus all of my attention on one thing and try to perfect this position as much as I can. In high school, I had a lot of different things, but I like this a lot better.

Question: Carolina has some older players ahead of you on the depth chart right now, but it seems like several of the returning tight ends specialize in one area, whether it be blocking or receiving. With your combination of size and athleticism, though, are the coaches working you extra hard to become a complete player at the tight end position?

Answer: Oh yeah, Coach Chatham is stressing for me to try and be a complete tight end. That's what I'm going to try to do. Blocking-wise, that's the thing I have to work on the most. I'm pretty confident in my catching and running ability, but blocking is where it's at.

Question: What's it like working under Coach Fred Chatham out there?

Answer: He's real cool. He understands what I'm going through in learning all these plays at once, adjusting to school and practice and everything else that's going on. He's been real understanding with me. I would've been fed up by now, but he's been pretty cool, and I appreciate it a lot.

Question: Have you set any goals for yourself in your upcoming freshman season?

Answer: I hope to make an impact at tight end. I'll even go as far to say I hope I make it to the All-SEC freshman team. I'm just going to do whatever I can to help the team win. We've got big goals for this year.

Question: You mentioned that conditioning is one of the areas that you'd like to work on. Do you have a certain target weight that you'd like to get down to right now?

Answer: As far as my weight, I'd like to get that down to the 270-265 range. I'm feeling pretty good now, but every time I weigh in, I'm 277 or so. If I could get down a little bit, I think I'll be doing pretty good.

Question: Is there a certain game that stands out to you on that 2007 schedule?

Answer: October 13th at North Carolina. I'm really looking forward to that one.

Question: Do you have any friends that play for the Tar Heels?

Answer: Yeah, Tydreke Powell is one of my guys there. I know Greg Little from Durham and a couple of walk ons. I planned on going there, so I know a lot of guys on the team, They weren't too happy when I committed here, so I'm just going to show them I made the right choice.

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