In a bit of a surprising turn of events, one of the nation’s most explosive playmakers has shifted gears and officially declared for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Ace Sanders, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound native of Bradenton, FL, had declared he would be sticking around for his final season, only to change his mind late Tuesday night.
While obviously not the biggest guy on the football field, Sanders has had a penchant over his three seasons with the Gamecocks to make some of the biggest plays. In his junior year, Sanders averaged 15.3 yards in returning 28 punts for 429 yards and two touchdowns.
An absolutely explosive weapon on special teams, Sanders came into his own as a receiver in 2012. He may have only caught 45 passes for 531 yards (not elite numbers by any stretch), yet he managed to find paydirt nine times.
South Carolina, under coach Steve Spurrier, has risen from the ashes to become a perennial national powerhouse. The program has won 11 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history.
Sanders was supposed to be a huge cog in the 2013 South Carolina offensive machine.
However, now he will be an absolute gem for a team looking to make an immediate upgrade to their special teams and offensive weaponry. Sanders is expected to be drafted anywhere between the second and fourth rounds of this year’s selection, depending on individual workouts, the NFL Combine and pro days in front of scouts.
Spurrier is going to ask Bruce Ellington to step up into an even bigger role with the team next season. Ellington led the team with 600 receiving yards as a mere sophomore, and he has shown promise in the return game as well. Another name to keep an eye on will be Shaq Roland. The South Carolina native only caught five balls for 80 yards as a true freshman, but Roland has speed to burn and should be looking forward to stepping into Sanders’ speedy shoes.