South Carolina’s Saunders tries to repair reputation

Dismissed tight end Weslye Saunders was back on South Carolina’s practice field on March 30 working out for scouts and personnel from 28 NFL teams — and trying to repair his reputation.

Saunders admitted at the NFL Scouting Combine last month that he had lied to NCAA investigators over an inquiry into improper contact with agents. He also was among several Gamecocks who lived at a local hotel for discounted rates. Once a highly regarded prospect, the 6-foot-6, 273-pound senior was kicked off the team in September and didn’t play a game his senior season.

Saunders was among 14 former Gamecocks auditioning for the NFL. Representatives from 20 teams attended the pro day, including Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz, Lions offensive line coach George Yarno, and Chicago Bears defensive line coach Mike Phair.

The event, usually held outdoors on grass, was forced indoors and on FieldTurf this year do to rainy conditions.

Saunders (6-5 1/4, 262) didn’t work out at the combine due to a broken bone in his left foot and he didn’t look completely healthy at pro day. He posted 40 times of 4.93 and 5.01, a 33-inch vertical leap, 10-2 broad jump, 4.56 short shuttle, 7.48 3-cone drill, and 19 strength lifts.

Other notable players from the workout included:

Ladi Ajiboye, DL: Ajidoye (6-1 3/8, 296) posted 40 times of 5.30 and 5.31 and went through a positional workout.

Chris Culliver, DB: Culliver (6-0 1/8, 198) was a combine participant who helped himself at pro day, especially in displaying his top-rate speed. He posted 15 strength lifts, keeping the rest of his combine numbers.

Cliff Matthews, DL: Matthews (6-3 3/4, 258) showed more versatility than any other player at pro day. He went through positional drills as a defensive lineman, tight end, and linebacker. His D-lineman workout was done with Phair. He additionally posted 40 times of 481 and 4.78, a 32-inch vertical leap, 9-3 broad jump, 4.53 short shuttle, 7.08 3-cone drill, and 20 bench presses.

Tori Gurley, WR: Gurley (6’4, 211) stood on all his combine figures and went through a positional workout.

Jarriel King, OL: King (6-5 1/8, 311) kept his combine numbers and had an individual positional workout with Yarno. King has very long arms and a huge wingspan, a key advantage toward success on the offensive line.

Patrick DiMarco, FB: DiMarco (6-0 5/8, 237) posted 40 times of 4.91 and 4.94, a 29.5-inch vertical leap, 9-0 broad jump, 4.46 short shuttle, 7.09 3-cone drill, and 20 bench presses. He is the nephew of PGA golfer Chris DiMarco.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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