De’Ante “Pop” Saunders wants to play offense


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.


  1. ga gator, earlier in the week someone suggested that he was still recovering and the coaches were bringing him along slowly as not to rush the recovery. They want him to be 100% when he hits the field, so don’t expect to see him in the spring game. I think they are probably not going to showcase him until the fall, 100% healthy and full speed ahead. I along with 800 Million in Gator Nation are also awaiting the arrival of Mr. Debose. But the fall is when it all counts, and if by some chance he’s not ready there is at least 5 other talented guys waiting to step in that very highlighted spot. It will be a very exciting year with all the dream potential that lurks in the Swamp this fall, can’t wait to get wet.

  2. Ed, What has happened to Brendan Beale? He played really well kn last years Spring game, but when I read about coaches talking about our defensive personnell, I never see his name. Is he still with us?
    Hated to see Gary brown not work out. I had hopes for him.

  3. He is very talented football and basketbally player, but off the field is very different. He is failing many classes and does alot of drugs ( weed) and its not fair to others that he can do all that and the school and coaches make away for him to get around it.