'22 OH WR - Kaden Saunders

Discussion in ''22 Non-Offered Prospects' started by OSUBasketballJunkie, Apr 17, 2019.

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    Kaden Saunders Hopes to Add OSU Offer to Early Collection
    Westerville athlete Kaden Saunders has already received offers from Penn State, Michigan State and West Virginia as a high school freshman, and he was at Ohio State on Friday for one of what Saunders said he hopes to be many visits throughout the rest of spring and summer.

    “All of the facilities were top-notch,” Saunders said. “The coaching staff really bonded with me for it being my first time on a visit. They showed me a lot of love and interest, and it’s just a great feeling there overall. It was really nice.”


    Every school showing interest in Saunders, including Notre Dame, Kentucky and Florida outside of the schools that have offered him, is recruiting the Ohio athlete as a wide receiver. The Buckeyes are as well, but they also want to see him perform at defensive back, Saunders said.

    As a freshman at Westerville South High School, Saunders didn’t touch the ball too often, which is normal for a freshman. He carried the ball 27 times for 203 yards and caught 12 passes for 229 yards. That role will certainly expand beginning next season.

    Saunders has already shown the ability to be a big-play threat on every down and the acceleration to beat almost any high school defensive back off the line, as well as track passes on deep routes. He will likely be a big-play factor at the next level, and he still has three years to develop into a less specialized and more refined wideout in that regard too.

    Saunders has developed a relationship with Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington, who recruits in most Ohio areas, and on his visit he was able to meet wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, running backs coach Tony Alford, co-secondary coach Jeff Hafley and head coach Ryan Day.

    “Ohio State didn’t really lay out a path,” Saunders said about the possibility of earning a Buckeye offer. “They just told me they really like me and I’m a big target and to keep working and come to camp.”

    If Saunders does, in fact, come to an Ohio State summer camp, that could be the opportunity for Ohio State to see him at the defensive back position, but it’s likely that he will continue to be recruited as a wide receiver.
     
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    Kaden Saunders Attends Ohio State's Camp
    Westerville athlete Kaden Saunders has burst onto the 2022 scene as a dynamic playmaker who is usually the fastest player on the field. That reputation has earned him offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and other programs which will eventually make him one of the highest-rated prospects in the state.


    Ohio State is already developing something more than extending an offer can provide, though. Linebackers coach and noted elite in-state recruiter Al Washington has been in contact with Saunders, and he was at Ohio State’s one-day camp June 15.

    “It means a lot,” Saunders said after the camp. “I try to get up here as often as I can, being that I live 15 minutes away. So I try to stay in contact with Coach Washington and meet with Coach Hartline and Coach Hafley. Those guys are really close to me.”

    Saunders plays receiver at Westerville South, where he made 12 catches for 229 yards, ran the ball 27 times for 203 yards and returned 23 combined punts and kicks for a total of 464 yards. His role is expected to expand as he gets older.

    But at the Ohio State camp, the Buckeyes tried him in an unusual position – cornerback. At 5-foot-10, 156 pounds, Saunders has the size and the agility to be an effective cornerback with development, and secondary coach Jeff Hafley has seen that. He spent all of the individual drills at cornerback, but Ohio State isn’t only looking at him as a cornerback, so he ran competition drills at receiver.

    If he isn’t already there, Saunders is expected to a sub-4.50 40-yarder by his junior year, but he pulled his hamstring in the winter and aggravated it at the Under Armour All-America Camp in Cincinnati in April. His time wasn’t where he wanted it to be in Columbus, he said.

    “I’m trying to get over the mental hump, I think,” Saunders said. “I’m just trying to get back to full speed and have quick, explosive movements.”

    The Westerville speedster was able to get solid feedback from both Halfey and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline too.

    “Coach Hartline told me to work on the top end of my routes and some of my releases,” he said. “Coach Hafley told me to keep my hips low, my shoulders low, get in and out of my breaks a little bit faster.”
     
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