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Tag:Weslye Saunders
Posted on: March 31, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 7:52 pm
 

TE Saunders reportedly set for foot surgery

Weslye Saunders' road to the NFL has encountered yet another speed bump with the NFL Network reporting the former South Carolina tight end will undergo surgery to have a pin inserted into his fractured foot Friday.

This type of surgery typically takes six to eight weeks to recover from. Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones turned in a blistering performance at the scouting combine in February despite having a fractured foot, then underwent surgery and is expected to get his walking boot off next week. Saunders went through South Carolina's pro day on Wednesday with the injury.

Saunders was suspended for the entire 2010 season after lying to the NCAA twice regarding details of trips he took to Atlanta and Washington D.C. last summer with friend Marvin Austin, the former North Carolina Tar Heel who was the focal point of an investigation into alleged improper benefits received from agents. Saunders was eventually kicked out of the program by coach Steve Spurrier.

Saunders said he paid his own way, but lied to protect friends, fearing he'd get them in trouble - although he claimed not to know what for.

"I panicked," Saunders said at the combine. "There's no excuse for lying. I wasn't truthful and forthcoming. I did hold back on information in the first two interviews. The third time I laid everything out on the table.

"It felt like they were investigating a murder. It was in the middle of summer, they put me in a hot room in the Carolina Inn and stuck two tape recorders in front of me for four hours."

Saunders said he hopes he can regain his reputation. As for his draft stock, he's unlikely to get back his preseason status -- he was NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked tight end in August.

"At the end of the day, I think everyone realizes I made a mistake, I suffered greatly for that mistake," he said. "I never was arrested. I never failed a drug test. I never was on academic probation. I think we'll get a chance to prove ourselves."

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor

Posted on: February 26, 2011 2:31 pm
 

Broken foot Saunders' latest setback

Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders finally caught a break – in his foot.

Suspended by the NCAA and kicked out of the Gamecocks program for his role in an investigation into improper benefits from an agent, Saunders arrived in Indianapolis looking to impress NFL scouts on a football field for the first time in more than a year. However, his medical check revealed a broken bone in his foot.

Saunders will still be able to take part in interviews with teams, which will be just as critical in recapturing some of his lost draft stock. He's currently the No. 11-rated tight end, projected as a sixth-round pick.

--Derek Harper
Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Saunders back in the Combine

The National Football Scouting Service has included former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders on their official invitation list: http://www.nflcombine.net/players/o
fficial-invite-list

The NFL ruled Saunders is now eligible for the 2011 draft despite failing to hand in the paperwork to declare as an early entry. His dismissal from USC gave him additional eligibility, so he could have transferred to a lower-division school in 2010 or 2011.

But the league heard and approved Saunders' appeal to allow him into this draft, so now he has re-gained the invitation he originally accepted before the ruling.

If Saunders performs well at the Combine, which he should if he has been training to enhance his natural athleticism in recent weeks, teams may take a chance on his talents late in the draft.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
Posted on: February 14, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 5:20 pm
 

NFL Reverses Field on Weslye Saunders

Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders will, indeed, be eligible for the 2011 NFL draft after the NFL overturned their previous decision to deny him entry.

Saunders had multiple run-ins and suspensions with South Carolina coaches during his time in Columbia before being suspended and then dismissed by the school in August 2010. That suspension did not even come as a result of his part in a NCAA investigation involving agents last summer.

Saunders and his people did not file the paperwork to be included in this year's draft, likely because they figured he was a fifth-year senior and not among the many underclassmen looking at early entry. But since Saunders could have returned to college football in 2011, whether to USC or a lower-division school, the NFL initially ruled Saunders had additional eligibility remaining, thus the need for him to apply as a early entrant.

Scouts consider him talented but would rather not use a high pick on a player with his track record of suspensions. Some teams will not have him on their boards at all, but his 6-6, 270-pound frame and receiving ability, could entice a team to select him in the fifth-to-seventh rounds.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter

Posted on: July 27, 2010 10:19 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 6:35 pm
 

As promised, my SEC notes after film review

After a short hiatus to the coast of Washington State to chase the elusive chinook salmon, here are the SEC film room notes I had promised.

Again, I fully recognize that there have been many off-field stories that have broken recently -- the ongoing NCAA investigations , important rookie signings and, unfortunately, the terrible accident that fractured the skull of Baltimore pass rusher Sergio Kindle, thereby endangering his rookie season and perhaps even his NFL career. 
There are so many off-field news stories right now that I am trying to focus on the action that takes places between the white lines. I posted my thoughts on what surprised/disappointed/impressed me after my initial review of ACC prospects a few days ago.

Here are my thoughts after scouting the top senior prospects in the SEC.

  • In the opinion of many NFL scouts, the essential difference between the SEC and the rest of college football is the different talent and depth the Southeastern Conference boasts along the defensive line. Though a few teams have narrowed the gap (North Carolina and Pittsburgh chief among them), the SEC again is loaded up front with run-stuffers and pass-rushers. Mississippi nose guard Jerrell Powe is currently our top-ranked prospect from the conference. He is quickly followed by pass rushers Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State) and Cliff Saunders (South Carolina). Powe has been often compared to former Boston College standout (and current Green Bay Packer) B.J. Raji for his stout presence in the middle. Like Raji, who missed the 2007 season due to academic suspension, Powe has struggled to keep his grades in check. In fact, he was deemed ineligible three consecutive years from 2005-2007. NFL teams will no doubt take Powe's academic struggles in mind when determining his final grade. What is obvious on film, however, is that he is a talented player who could physically compete immediately in the NFL.
  • The defensive line is typically what the SEC is known for, but this year the unique talent in the conference comes along the offensive line and at tight end. My fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter broke down the conference's depth up front in a feature article here . No fewer than eight senior SEC offensive linemen are currently viewed as potential draft-worhty prospects. The conference also boasts NFLDraftScout.com's top three rated senior tight ends in South Carolina's Weslye Saunders, Tennessee's Luke Stocker and Arkansas' D.J. Williams. I was a bit underwhelmed with each of them, quite frankly. Saunders (6-5, 272) has incredible size and surprising overall athleticism, but isn't the speed threat most of today's NFL teams are looking for. Williams, at 6-2, 244 pounds, has some speed and is a tenacious blocker considering his size, but simply lacks the bulk for most clubs. The most well-rounded of the bunch is the 6-5, 252 pound Stocker, though he doesn't possess any skills on film that left me wowed, either.
  • Considering that they're the defending National Champions, it might surprise you to learn how few of the SEC's highly rated prospects play for Alabama. In defense of the Crimson Tide, many of their top-rated prospects who would be seniors this year elected to leave early (ILB Rolando McClain, CB Kareem Jackson, etc.). Furthermore, their depth and coaching is so good that some seniors seeing the field extensively for the first time in 2010 will no doubt emerge as legitimate prospects. However, at this point, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior Crimson Tide prospect is left tackle James Carpenter, currently viewed as a 3rd-4th round prospect -- and one likely to have make the transition inside to guard. Quarterback Greg McElroy, rated as a 6th-7th round prospect is next. Of course, considering the draft-eligible underclassmen on this team (Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, Marcel Dareus, etc.), the Tide rolls on.
  • Speaking of Alabama, with all due respect to Heisman winner Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson is a fabulous NFL prospect in his own right. One that I feel could have been similarly productive in Alabama's offense had been given Ingram's attempts. Luckily for Nick Saban and Tide fans, as a true sophomore, Richardson has at least two more seasons in Tuscaloosa. He flashed first round talent as a true freshman...
  • Though I wouldn't rank them among the elite prospects in the conference just yet, a few players did flash on film that haven't generated a lot national attention just yet. I mentioned Alabama's Carpenter earlier. Auburn running back Mario Fannin is a terrific receiver who has popped off the tape throughout his career, but has never been able to string together the dominant season his skill-set seems capable of producing. Fannin has struggled with fumbles and injuries early in his career, but, if over both, could enjoy a breakout campaign in 2010. Kentucky wide receiver Chris Matthews, at 6-5, 222 pounds, surprised me with good body control and enough acceleration to think he could surprise, as well.
  • One final note on the SEC prospects... I typically reserve comments for senior prospects, but Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is an obvious NFL prospect regardless of when he leaves the Razorbacks. However, I wasn't as wowed by Mallett as some apparently are. His 6-6, 238 pound frame is considered a positive by most, though his long legs and only moderate foot speed/balance concern me. Mallett has a gun and can make some dazzling throws, but at least some of his success has to be attributed to Bobby Petrino's wide-open offense. Remember, this is the same offense that convinced many of us that former Louisville standout Brian Brohm was one day going to be an NFL star. With two years of remaining eligibility, Mallett has plenty of time to iron out some wrinkles to his game, but I, for one, feel he's being a bit overrated right now... 

Posted on: July 21, 2010 2:41 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 2:44 pm
 

Dareus another NCAA worry; Saban calls out NFL

Alabama junior defensive Marcel Dareus, already viewed by scouts as a potential first round prospect, is the latest high profile player to be under NCAA investigation for his possibly inappropriate relationship with a sports agent, according to an ESPN report by Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach.

Dareus, according to the report , is being investigated after attending an agent's party in South Beach, Florida earlier this summer.

Whereas the Universities of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida have all been relatively tight-lipped about the investigations into their student-athletes, Alabama head coach Nick Saban unleashed some wrath on the two elements he believes are at the root of the epidemic -- sports agents and the NFL.

"What the NFL Players Association and the NFL need to do is if any agent breaks a rule and causes ineligibility for a player, they should suspend his [agent's] license for a year or two," Saban is quoted in the article. "I'm about ready for college football to say, 'Let's just throw the NFL out. Don't let them evaluate players. Don't let them talk to players. Let them do it at the combine.' If they are not going to help us, why should we help them?"

"Right now, agents are screwing it up," Saban said. "They are taking the eligibility of players. It's not right that those players do the wrong thing. We have a great education process here. We have a full-time worker who meets with players and their families and does everything else."


Saban, who, of course, coached the Miami Dolphins for a brief time, probably understands the issue greater than most coaches. He's seen the recruiting of players by agents from the perspective of being a college coach, as well as from the NFL side.

While his potential solution to the problem seems rash, it also could work.

With the NCAA apparently taking the illegal player-recruiting by agents more seriously, get ready to see a steady stream of these stories. Unfortunately, Marvin Austin, Weslye Saunders, Maurkice Pouncey and Marcel Dareus may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Posted on: July 19, 2010 12:22 pm
 

South Carolina TE Saunders caught up in UNC mess

South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior prospect at the position, is being investigated for potential inappropriate contact with sports agents , according to Joseph Person of TheState.com.

Saunders, who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, is said to be friends with several of the UNC players reportedly being investigated last week by NCAA officials. According to Person's report, the NCAA's concern may be that an agent paid for airfare and lodging for Saunders and/or UNC players, which, of course, would be a violation of the amatuer eligibility rules.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier acknowledged that his talented tight end is in potential trouble with the NCAA in Person's article, but was careful not to paint Saunders in a bad light.

“I’m not accusing Weslye of anything. He may be innocent. He may just know those (North Carolina) guys,” Spurrier said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see how it all comes out.”
The 6-5, 272 pound Saunders offers a rare combination of size and athleticism for the position. A featured component of the team's offense to start last season, Saunders caught 12 passes over his first two games, but finished with only 32 (for 352 yards and 3 scores) on the year.

Saunders heavily considered leaving early for the NFL after last season and did request a grade from the NFL Advisory Committee. Saunders' grade was reported to be in the mid-rounds, which led to his return to South Carolina for his senior season.

Saunders certainly has the physical potential to warrant NFLDraftScout.com's lofty preseason ranking. With previous concerns about his work ethic and consistency, however, if he is to take full advantage of his impressive natural skill set, he'll need to get through the NCAA investigation unscathed and put forth an inspired 2010 season.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com