Former South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders may have to go two years without football.
Saunders was informed by the NFL last week that he is not eligible for the NFL Draft because he failed to file the proper paperwork, his agent told The State on Thursday.
“At this time, Weslye has been notified that he potentially still has (collegiate) eligibility left which would negate his participation in the NFL combine, however this is under appeal based on some mistakes of fact,” Durham, N.C., lawyer and sports agent James D. “Butch” Williams said.
Saunders was invited to participate in the combine in a letter he received earlier this month, but that invitation has been rescinded. His name did not appear on the combine’s invite list released earlier this week by the NFL.
Williams hopes that Saunders hears the results of his appeal in the next week or two, he said. Saunders’ problem stems from the fact that the NCAA and NFL still believe he has one year of collegiate eligibility left because he never redshirted and didn’t play at all in 2010. Players with eligibility remaining are required to file paperwork officially declaring for the draft by Jan. 15, which Saunders did not do because he considered his eligibility exhausted.
NationalFootballPost.com first reported Saunders’ situation, attributing NFL sources.
Saunders was considered one of the nation’s top NFL prospects at tight end entering his senior season, but didn’t play for the Gamecocks in 2010. He was suspended from the team for the first two games by head coach Steve Spurrier and then dismissed by athletics director Eric Hyman.
If Saunders’ appeal is not successful, he could enter the NFL’s supplemental draft in July. Saunders did not return a message left Thursday on his cell phone.
Saunders, a prolific Twitter poster, blocked access to his Twitter page Thursday morning shortly after posting: “I guess it’s time for me to let go, and let GOD do his work!!!”
Former Gamecocks Ladi Ajiboye, Chris Culliver, Garrett Chisolm, Tori Gurley, Jarriel King and Cliff Matthews all have been invited to the combine.