Due in large part to the presence of All-SEC running back Marcus Lattimore, Spurrier and his staff didn't feature Sanders at South Carolina as much as he might have during his pass-happy days at the University of Florida. While he led the Gamecocks with 45 catches in 2012, Sanders finished behind teammate Bruce Ellington with a modest 531 yards. Sanders' nine touchdown receptions better reflect his natural playmaking ability than his relatively pedestrian 11.8 yards-per-catch average in what turned out to be his final collegiate season.
Sanders initially appeared to be returning to South Carolina for 2013, but a dominant showing against Michigan in the Outback Bowl may have pushed him into the NFL. Named the game's MVP, Sanders caught nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns (including the game-winner) and returned a punt 63 yards for another score.
"welcome to the real world...Time to make it happen" Sanders tweeted Jan. 16. "Thank you everyone apart of #GamecockNation,
"So much support! Y'all don't know how much that means to me!!!! I love you all!!!!"
Excellent vision and feel for setting up his blocks. Patient, creative runner who is always a threat to go back against the grain. Good straight-line speed and shows a late burst to pull away. Shows the ability to pluck the ball from outside of his frame. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder and shows good hand-eye coordination and timing to make the diving grab.
Good toughness and concentration to handle slot responsibilities. Fights through arm tackles and is tough to tackle due to his naturally low center of gravity. Doesn't back down to the size and physicality over the middle. Good bloodlines; son of former NFL defensive back Tracy Sanders.
WEAKNESSES: Significantly undersized. More quick than fast and is a bit of a one-trick pony as an interior receiver. Made most of his plays at South Carolina on quick screens, drag routes and occasional deep balls and is therefore lacking a bit in his route progression. Doesn't switch the ball to his outside arm consistently and will allow the ball to swing too freely.
COMPARES TO: Roscoe Parrish, WR/RS, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Like the long-time Buffalo Bill, Sanders is more dangerous as a returner than a receiver at this point in his career. His secure hands and toughness, however, could make him a dangerous target out of the slot in the right offense.