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Oct. 2, 2009

By Emily Steele
Media Relations Student Assistant

How does this year compare to your previous years here at South Carolina?
“This is probably my most important year now that I am a starter. I put pressure on myself, not anything unnecessary but I know my team is depending on me a little bit more and (Coach Spurrier) is putting a lot more faith in me. They rely on me to go out there and perform each and every game.”

Last year you backed up Jared Cook are you still in touch with him now that he moved on to professional football?
“I talk to him a few times a week, he knows my schedule and I know his schedule. So before they have a game, I text him good luck and few words of encouragement and he does the same for me. We still keep in pretty good contact even though he’s all the way in Tennessee (with the Titans).”

Why did you choose South Carolina over the other schools that were recruiting you at the time?
“I chose South Carolina because when I came on my visits I thought the atmosphere was great, the fans are great here and the school has a great journalism program. It was just a great opportunity, it’s a program on the rise and I really like how Coach Spurrier runs his operation. I just felt like I could come here and contribute immediately.”

You mentioned you were a journalism major and I know your dad is a journalist as well, was he your main motivation for getting in to the field?
“My dad has been a journalist for about 30 years, so growing up I picked up a few tidbits. My parents have always stressed academics, so I had to make it so that reading and writing were fun for me. Then it got to a point where it became easy and now journalism is my major and something I love to do.”

It’s looking like you’re one of Stephen Garcia’s favorite targets so far this year. How do you feel about being one of the go-to guys on the team this year?
“It feels good because we’re such good friends. He got here a semester before I did but we are in the same graduating class and we’re pretty much in the same position each year. So as we continue to grow, we’re both coming in as starters now and as we’ve grown together, we’ve made this bond so it just comes natural.”

What has been your favorite moment as a Gamecock?
“There are so many but probably getting my first collegiate touchdown as a Gamecock at Kentucky. (Saunders scored the game-winning touchdown in last year’s game) That was a great moment for me and everyone remembers a first touchdown. I can honestly say that was probably one of my best moments here.”

What are your goals or plans for the future?
“I plan on graduating next August, hopefully. Then going into the field of journalism, like my dad, and (I hope to) write opinion pieces for a big-time paper like the New York Post or The Post-Tribune back in Indiana. And maybe doing a little on-screen work too.”

How would you like Gamecock fans to remember you?
“I would like to be remembered as Weslye Saunders, the guy who worked hard, gave it his all and who is a good-guy both on and off the field, a great football player, a great student, a great person all around and a guy who left the university better than when he found it.”

How is it balancing being a student-athlete?
“Now, my third year here, I’ve pretty much gotten the hang of it but that first year is the learning experience. It’s all about time management and I’ve pretty much gotten that down to a science, I know how long I can sleep and how much time I have to do other things.”

Who inspires you the most?
“Probably my parents because I’ve seen the things they’ve been through and struggling with traveling from place to place. It is just inspiring seeing them do so well now after going through so much. I look up to them a lot and I feel that if they can do it, then my job is not so hard down here, playing football and getting a good education.”

What do you want to tell your Gamecocks fans?
“That we love them and that we’re going to go out there and play hard for them even though sometimes they may not think so. We definitely go out there and play, not just for us, not just for our coaches but for them, we do it for the fans.”