De’Ante “Pop” Saunders made quite a bit of news in Florida’s recruiting world after checking out Florida State’s Junior Day in February. He came back complimentingFSU and Tallahassee. It had to be a bit unnerving for fans to hear that one of their own was having such a good time at a rival school.
Well, the Deland athlete is letting fans know there is nothing to worry about. He became Florida’s first commitment of the 2011 recruiting class after making his verbal pledge back in October and he’s not planning to change his status anytime soon.
“Florida is still No. 1,” Saunders said.
Now, he’s not gonna lie. He had a great time at FSU. He said the campus really impressed him and the coaches were saying all the right things about the idea of him being a shutdown cornerback for the Seminoles in the future.
But then get him talking about the Gators and the sound of his voice changes a bit. He’s developed a solid relationship with new assistant D.J.Durkin and thinks his skills would be best utilized in Gainesville. With his 4.5 40 speed, Saunders said he’s really drawn to Florida’s man-to-man defense and constant corner blitzes. But Saunders said it was the thought of winning multiple championships with the Gators that really swayed him to commit during his junior year. Even though Florida might have a bunch of bodies at the corner position, Saunders said he’s not worried about a little competition.
“I’m the kind of player that can change the game — shut down the other team’s best receiver or best player on the other side of the ball,” he said. “I can also come up and make tackles at times when it’s needed.”
He certainly has the confidence and “swag” to play corner at the next level.
Saunders, who is dubbed an athlete, plays offense as well. As a junior he ran for more than 1,600 yards and had 23 touchdowns. Saunders said he brought the idea of playing offense at Florida and thatDurkin said the coaches have been giving serious consideration to it.
“(Florida’s coaches) talked about it a few times so I think I’ll get the ball a few times,” he said.
Saunders said Florida and FSU are the only schools he’s been in contact with and has yet to iron out any summer camp plans.