Saunders, a junior, led Fresno State in receiving last season as a sophomore with 50 catches, 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns while earning All-WAC honors. He chose to leave Fresno after coach Pat Hill was fired and replaced by Tim DeRuyter.
The news isn’t entirely unexpected; Saunders didn’t travel with the team to Saturday’s season opener at UTEP. Last week, though, Stoops continued to say he expected an answer from the NCAA through Wednesday, the last day the coach was available to reporters.
He was reported to have done very well during fall camps and scrimmages.
Both Saunders and his father, Walter, have been open in media interviews about his decision being largely based on DeRuyter’s new no-huddle, spread system and the role the 5-foot-9, 160 pounder was being asked to play in it.
“They told him, ‘You’re not going to catch downfield anymore,’” Walter Saunders told the Fresno Bee in April, when his son decided to leave the program. “That’s like telling (quarterback) Derek Carr, ‘You’re only going to run option.’”
Jalen Saunders’ production last season was mostly as a downfield threat.