So long, Saunders

Jalen Saunders and quarterback Derek Carr connected 50 times last season.
The Bulldogs’ leading receiver has decided to transfer at the end of the
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

The 5-foot-9 wideout has elected to transfer at the end of the spring semester

Fresno State Athletics issued a statement Wednesday, granting wide receiver Jalen Saunders’ permission to contact other schools regarding his future as a student-athlete.

Saunders, who led the Bulldogs in nearly every receiving category, has decided to transfer to another school at the end of the spring semester.

The Fresno Bee first reported the junior’s decision to transfer on Monday when Saunders’ father, Walter, spoke out about his son’s decision to transfer.

“Fresno State is where Jalen wanted to be since high school, but there was a change of philosophy and a change of coaching staff that he no longer felt comfortable being there anymore,” Walter Saunders told The Bee.

“He’s been frustrated. Jalen does not fit in their new style of ball. He felt like that even if he stuck with it, he wouldn’t progress. And when you feel like that, if you don’t have job satisfaction, you’re not going to do well.”

According to his father, Saunders informed first-year coach Tim DeRuyter of the decision because his role as a receiver diminished in the coach’s new no-huddle spread-style offense.

In DeRuyter’s new system, the smaller wide receivers line up in the slot position while the outside spots are for taller receivers.

Saunders, who stands at 5-foot-9, lined up in the slot for the spring game and rarely saw passes coming his way, and when they did they were for short gains.

In Saunders’ first two seasons at Fresno State under then-coach Pat Hill, Saunders went from the third-leading receiver to the Derek Carr’s main target.

Last season he caught 50 passes for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning him a spot on the All-Western Athletic Conference first team.

His sophomore campaign was a record year, as he registered the ninth 1,000-yard receiving season in school history, and the first since 2001.

As well as being a vertical threat downfield, Saunders’ speed was used in the Bulldog backfield, resulting in two touchdowns last season.

Saunders has two years of eligibility left, including a redshirt season still to use when he transfers.

Fresno State’s policy is that student-athletes are not allowed to transfer to antoher school within the conference or to three other schools as decided by the head coach, however, Saunders can appeal the coach’s decision.

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