Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders has been declared ineligible for the 2011 NFL Draft due to a paperwork issue, according to a report by the National Football Post.
Saunders was listed by NFLDraftScout.com as one of the biggest names left out of the Scouting Combine, but the report said he was originally invited to Indianapolis for the biggest pre-draft workout the final week of February, but the invitation was rescinded. Saunders and his representatives reportedly didn't petition the NFL to be included in the draft, which he needed to do since he didn't play for the Gamecocks as a senior. He was suspended from the program indefinitely on Aug. 23 for team violations, and South Carolina removed him from the program following an NCAA investigation last summer regarding alleged improper benefits and contact with an agent. Saunders was one of 10 Gamecocks ordered by coach Steve Spurrier to leave a hotel last August and make restitution after receiving discounted rates for extended stays. Saunders had reportedly been staying at the hotel since 2009.
The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Saunders is the No. 14-rated tight end by NFLDraftScout.com, but he had been expected to enter his senior season as one of the nation's elite prospects at the position following a junior season in which he caught 32 passes for 353 yards. He was named to the Lombardi Award Fall Watch List.
Saunders has surprising athleticism for his size and is considered a physical prospect who is also a natural receiver. But he lacks elite straight-line speed (reported 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash), and Spurrier reportedly wasn't fond of Saunders' work ethic.
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