SPARTANBURG, S.C.- Recruiting is going well for Durham (N.C.) Riverside jumbo athlete Weslye Saunders. He has a handful of programs he currently is focused on and spoke with Rivals.com about three of those after practice for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas on Monday.
"Recruiting is going great," he said. "South Carolina, Louisville, North Carolina and Florida State, along with Wake Forest are real strong leaders with me right now."
The 6-foot-5, 275-pounder talked about the positives of the Gamecocks.
"I love coach Steve Spurrier," Saunders said. "I'm pretty familiar with them. I'm pretty familiar with the city of Columbia. I've been down there a few times. I went down there for the Tennessee game and was supposed to go down there for an official visit a few weeks back, but my high school game got postponed, so I had to cancel, but I love the Gamecocks."
Saunders plans to take his official visit to Columbia in mid-January.
North Carolina was an early favorite to land Saunders. He spoke about the Tar Heels recently hiring Butch Davis to lead their football program.
"It didn't hurt them at all," he said. "He's a great guy. He's got past experience coaching players at my position with Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey and Bubba Franks. I met with him about a month ago and he's a pretty nice guy, so I enjoyed talking to him."
Saunders will set an official visit with UNC.
Atlantic Coast Conference champion Wake Forest also has caught his eye.
"They have showed me a lot," he said. "I have heard nothing but good things about coach Jim Grobe because one of my friends goes to Wake Forest and he tells me about them all the time. The program looks like it's going in the right direction."
Saunders also is trying to set up an official visit to Florida State and has previously visited Louisville.
The three-star rated prospect, who wants to play tight end in college, is playing defensive line this week for the North Carolina squad.
"It's a different scheme, it's a 3-4 scheme, so I am trying to get used to that," he said. "I'm working some at defensive tackle and at defensive end, so I'm trying to work my way into it.
"I'm not used to not playing tight end, so I'm trying just to go with the flow, listen to the coaches, take their advice and work my way in and stuff."
Saunders talked about both sessions of practice on Monday.
"The first practice went real well," Saunders said. "The second practice, some guys were dragging a little big. It felt like two-a-days during the summer. Hopefully, we can go back and get some rest and pick it up as the week goes on and we get more used to it."
There is a good reason Saunders is dragging a bit. He and his high school team played for a sate championship on Saturday night.
"It was pretty tough," he said. "Saturday night, we played. Sunday morning, we made the long drive down here and then Monday morning, we have practice. I'm just trying to get my body used to it."
"Hopefully, I am going to get some rest tonight and rest up for tomorrow."