Saunders heading to senior bowls; wants to go pro
Bahamian tight end Mavin Saunders played his final game for the Kansas Jayhawks in November, but the Bahamian collegiate tight end has been invited to play in two senior bowls in January. He is looking to upgrade his draft stock going into next year’s National Football League (NFL) Draft.
The Bimini native is set to play in the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, from January 5-9, 2019. The other game he will be playing in is the Tropical Bowl in Daytona, Florida, on January 13, 2019.
The College Gridiron Showcase is the first all-star event of the 2018 college football postseason. It provides exposure for top collegiate senior football players from around the United States. The players will be evaluated by professional football scouts.
The Tropical Bowl showcases top collegiate football seniors to NFL scouts and general managers who attend the event.
Since the season ended, Saunders has been in Houston, Texas, training for the two games. He knows that being invited to these games means that he will have the opportunity to be seen. He hopes everything works out in his favor, looking for the opportunity to play at the next level.
The graduate transfer student signed with the Kansas Jayhawks for one year, and said it was a learning experience.
“Kansas was a great learning experience for me. I accomplished what I went there for, meaning I saw the field a lot and gained more knowledge as a football player. The production was limited because our offensive coordinator got fired and we became a run-first team, so most of the time I just blocked this past season,” he said.
Saunders scored his only touchdown of the season against the West Virginia Mountaineers back on October 6. He caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peyton Bender at the end of the first quarter in that game.
On the season, Saunders had four receptions for 32 yards. His longest reception was against the Mountaineers, 18 yards.
He said he wished he had the opportunity to get more chances to score more touchdowns. The Jayhawks finished the season with three wins and nine losses to finish last in the Big 12 Conference. They had a tough time against their conference counterparts, finishing with a 1-8 win-loss record in the conference.
In the spring of this year, Saunders was named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s honor roll and the Athletic Director’s honor roll as a Jayhawks player.
The tight end who grew up in Bimini, The Bahamas, said he has always loved the game of football.
“It was great, especially just picking up the game as a junior in high school. I always loved football, from growing up in Bimini, so it was great being able to play it at the collegiate level,” he said.
Last year December, Saunders earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology from Florida State University (FSU). It was a goal he set out to achieve, and he’s grateful that he accomplished it. Bahamian legendary track and field athlete Frank Rutherford played a huge role in Saunders’ life. Saunders thanked Rutherford for getting him this far.
“I’m thankful for him (Rutherford) for taking a chance on me by bringing me here. It’s been a successful ride so far. The goal was to get a college degree and I accomplished that. Now we are getting ready to play at the next level. It has been a great ride and I am truly blessed,” said Saunders.
Saunders said he is still connected to people at FSU.
“FSU meant the world to me. I am connected to the people down there and will be my whole life,” he said.
Saunders played for the Seminoles from 2014-2017. As a Seminoles player, he had a career day in 2016 against North Carolina Tar Heels, finishing with three catches for 74 yards, including a 33-yard reception.
Saunders played high school football and basketball for Kincaid School in Houston, Texas, USA. He was a four-star football recruit coming out of high school.