2017 NFL Draft

Ace Sanders, WR

School: Missouri  |  Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Bradenton, FL
Height/Weight: 5-7 / 173 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
04/08/2013 - 2013 South Carolina Pro Day: There were 32 NFL teams represented at South Carolina Pro Day on March 27. Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was among the coaches who attended. A total of 18 players worked out on field-turf outdoors in 50 degree weather with 5 mph wind. Ace Sanders WR (5-7, 175 pounds) - He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 and 4.59 seconds and recorded a 9-foot-6 broad jump. He kept everything else from the combine. Sanders worked out as a wide receiver. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

01/17/2013 - Sanders leaves the Gamecocks (who have not yet made any official announcement regarding Sanders' plans) as one of their most productive receivers, leading the team with 45 receptions in 2012 and finishing second behind Bruce Ellington with 531 receiving yards. He also finished second on the team in both categories in 2011 behind current Chicago Bear Alshon Jeffery.

But unlike the towering Jeffery, at 5'8" and 175 pounds, Sanders isn't exactly your prototype NFL receiver. His draft stock will rest primarily on his outstanding punt return skills, an area where he finished sixth in the country in average return, tied for second with a pair of touchdowns, and generally proved as exciting a threat from that position as any player in the country.

The Big Spur reported that Sanders received a fourth-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory committee.

Wherever Sanders is drafted, though, what's certain is that his departure -- particularly after many in Columbia expected him to stay -- will be felt going forward, as Steve Spurrier's passing game moves on with only two wideouts (Ellington and Damiere Byrd) who caught more than 12 passes last season. Replacing a returner of Sanders' caliber will be even more difficult. Spurrier has his program in the kind of shape where this isn't that heavy a blow, but it's not what the Ol' Ball Coach would have wanted all the same. - Jerry Hinnen, CBSSports.com

01/16/2013 - South Carolina receiver and explosive return specialist Ace Sanders may have made a move that could send him to the 2013 NFL draft. A week after announcing on his Instagram account that he would be staying in school, Sanders, a junior, took to his Twitter account Tuesday saying "welcome to the real world...Time to make it happen" and describing the day as "full of emotion" for him. "Thank you everyone apart of #GamecockNation," tweeted Sanders. "So much support! Y'all don't know how much that means to me!!!! I love you all!!!!"

Despite those comments, and multiple tweets from teammates congratulating him, Sanders has not declared outright that he is entering the NFL draft. There has also been no official statement from the University of South Carolina about Sanders' status with the team. - Brian McConchie, WACH Fox TV News

01/11/2013 - Quietly, South Carolina standout receiver and special teams return man Ace Sanders has decided he will return to play for the Gamecocks in 2013. GamecockCentral.com Recruiting Analyst Chris Clark has been following the decision by Sanders, who was named Most Valuable Player of the Outback Bowl with three touchdowns, 92 receiving yards and 79 return yards.

In recent days, Sanders has posted a photo of himself on his Instagram account with a text heading that says, "One more year." And GamecockCentral cites a source familiar with the situation saying that Sanders - as well as juniors Victor Hampton and Chaz Sutton - is staying at USC for his senior season. All talked together recently about staying put and trying to get to the national title game next season, GamecockCentral reported. - The Times and Democrat

01/01/2013 - Scouting the South Carolina special teams: Ace Sanders has become one of the top punt returners in the nation, setting the USC single-season record for most return yards in a season (363) for an average of 14.5 yards per attempt. He returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the Gamecocks' 35-7 win over Georgia. PK Adam Yates has improved as the season has progressed, making 11 of 14 field goals and all 46 extra points. P Tyler Hull has been inconsistent, but has played well late in the season. He's averaging 39.4 yards per punt, downing 11 inside the opponent's 20-yard line. - The Sports Xchange

12/08/2012 - 2012 ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM (COACHES): RS - Ace Sanders, South Carolina, has been selected First Team All-Southeastern Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Sanders, a 5-8, 175-pound junior from Bradenton, Fla., set the Carolina single-season record for punt return yards with 363. He was the top punt returner in the SEC, averaging 14.5 yards per return, with seven returns of 27 yards or more. Sanders was a second-team selection by the Associated Press. - South Carolina football

12/08/2012 - 2012 ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM (COACHES): AP - Ace Sanders, South Carolina, has been selected Second Team All-Southeastern Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Sanders, a 5-8, 175-pound junior from Bradenton, Fla., set the Carolina single-season record for punt return yards with 363. He was the top punt returner in the SEC, averaging 14.5 yards per return, with seven returns of 27 yards or more. - South Carolina football

12/08/2012 - 2012 ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM (MEDIA): All-Purpose - Ace Sanders, South Carolina, Jr., has been selected Second Team All-Southeastern Conference (Media selection) for the 2012 college football season. Sanders, a 5-8, 175-pound junior from Bradenton, Fla., set the Carolina single-season record for punt return yards with 363. He was the top punt returner in the SEC, averaging 14.5 yards per return, with seven returns of 27 yards or more. - South Carolina football

11/27/2012 - Week 13 Rewind: South Carolina Receiver/Returner An Ace...Heading into this year's South Carolina-Clemson game, the vast majority of the hype revolving around offensive skill-position players had centered on the Tigers trio of quarterback Tajh Boyd and his spectacular receiver duo of Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. It was the speed and elusiveness of South Carolina's Ace Sanders, however, that provided the highlight reel plays in this contest.

The 5-08, 176 pound junior receiver caught a career high six passes for 119 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown that gave South Carolina a 20-17 lead early in the third quarter. It was the seventh touchdown catch of the season for Sanders and the first time he'd broken the century mark over his career. Sanders entered the game as South Carolina's leader in touchdown receptions but he'd accomplished this catching only 30 passes. His greater contribution had been as a punt returner, averaging an SEC-best 13.9 yards per return. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/27/2012 - Week 13 Rewind: It isn't difficult to see why Sanders is so effective as a returner and why he's likely to continue to make big plays as a receiver both in the SEC and, at some point, in the NFL. Sanders' suddenness laterally and vertically is similar to the game-breaking ability that potential All-American Tavon Austin has demonstrated all season long for the West Virginia Mountaineers.

Sanders demonstrated his game-breaking speed early in this game, taking a quick check-down pass he caught near his own 15-yard line for an additional 30 yards by simply racing past the angles that Clemson defenders had on him. Sanders' touchdown came off a deep post in which he started off from the slot. Sanders caught the ball with three defenders all within tackling range of him. Recognizing a cutback opportunity, Sanders hit the brakes, shook off a missed tackle and twirled around and through the closing Clemson defenders to squirt free for the final 10 yards and the score.

Sanders is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 13 receiver prospect in the 2014 draft class. For teams needing a slot receiver and/or returner, however, he could be rated significantly higher as few pass-catchers boast his natural playmaking ability. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

10/15/2012 - WEEK 7 SEC OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: PR/WR ACE SANDERS (South Carolina) -- Returned punt 50 yards to set up South Carolina's second touchdown against LSU. - SEC football

10/08/2012 - WEEK 6 SEC CO-SPECIAL TEAM PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Ace Sanders, Return Specialist / Wide Receiver, South Carolina: Sanders returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown that gave South Carolina an insurmountable 21-0 advantage en route to a 35-7 win over Georgia...It was Sanders' second career punt return for a touchdown. - SEC football

10/08/2012 - WEEK 6 NCAA NATIONAL FBS SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: After nearly breaking away for a score a couple times in recent weeks, WR Ace Sanders finally took one to the house as he returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown to give South Carolina an insurmountable 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Sanders muffed the catch before picking it up and zig-zagging through the Bulldogs' coverage to the end zone. It was his second career punt return for a touchdown and one that left Gamecocks fans rocking in the stands. - NCAA.com

10/07/2012 - South Carolina, Florida and West Virginia move into the top five of The Associated Press college football poll after a Saturday during which nine Top 25 teams lost. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon hold their spots at the top of the rankings. Alabama is a unanimous No. 1 again. The rest of Top 25 got a makeover. No. 3 South Carolina, off a 35-7 victory against Georgia, moves up three spots. No. 4 Florida jumps six after beating LSU 14-6. No. 5 West Virginia moves up three with a 48-45 victory at Texas. No. 6 Kansas State, No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 8 Ohio State also move up. LSU drops to No. 9 and unbeaten Oregon State is No. 10. The last time nine ranked teams lost in the same week was the weekend of Oct. 18, 2008. - AP Sports

09/24/2012 - WEEK 4 SEC CO-SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Ace Sanders, Return Specialist, South Carolina...Sanders had six punt returns for 106 yards including a 49-yard return in South Carolina's 31-10 win over Missouri. The 49-yard return set up the Gamecocks' first score of the game. Sanders also had a 23-yard TD scoring catch in the game. - SEC football

09/06/2012 - SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Under the leadership of QB Connor Shaw, the Gamecocks' rushing attack began where it left off last season, picking up 205 yards on 47 carries. Junior TB Marcus Lattimore looked as good as before his knee surgery, picking up 110 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries. The team was unable to get anything going through the air, however, completing 7-of-14 passes for 67 yards. The unit will be tested against East Carolina if Shaw is unable to play, however, as the Pirates will probably load the box to stop the run and dare South Carolina to pass. WRs Ace Sanders, Bruce Ellington and D.L. Moore will have to help by getting open and catch balls that come their way. PLAYERS TO WATCH: WR Ace Sanders -- After being touted as the team's leading returning receiver, Sanders was a non-factor in Saturday's victory over Vanderbilt, as he caught only two passes for 13 yards. He must put up some big numbers if the Gamecock offense is to reach its potential. - The Sports Xchange

09/06/2012 - STILL NEEDS WORK: USC's receivers have yet to prove they can get the job done after playing understudy to the departed Alshon Jeffery. The group caught only three passes for 26 yards against Vanderbilt. Junior Ace Sanders and sophomore Bruce Ellington are considered the top performers of the group but struggled to get open against Vanderbilt. - The Sports Xchange

08/30/2012 - SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: No quarterback played any better than Connor Shaw at the end of the 2011 season, when he completed 41-of-55 passes for 657 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 239 yards and three scores in South Carolina's last three games. He threw only one interception and is 8-1 as a starter at South Carolina. All that happened without the presence of Marcus Lattimore, who was out of action following a midseason knee injury. Together the duo should pose problems for opponents. The news is not all good, however, as the squad must replace go-to receiver Alshon Jeffery. Ace Sanders, Bruce Ellington and D. L. Moore will start in three-receiver sets. The team could have a new twist this season, as it features several talented receivers. Senior Justice Cunningham is the best blocker of the group, while sophomore Rory Anderson proved to be an outstanding receiver in his freshman season. Freshman Jerell Adams could prove to be the best of both, as coach Steve Spurrier has described him as a future NFL talent. - The Sports Xchange


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