One of the bright spots in an otherwise disappointing 4-9 season for Fresno State last year, which was good enough to get long-time coach Pat Hill fired, was leading receiver Jalen Saunders.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs and new coach Tim DeRuyter, Saunders won’t be catching any more passes for FSU.
First tweeted by Saunders himself — “Makin moves, you feel me?” — multiple media outlets have confirmed through Saunders’ father that the receiver has decided to move on from the program, citing frustration with DeRuyter’s no-huddle spread offense.
“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 Fresno 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.”
The junior-to-be reeled in 50 passes for 1065 yards and 14 total touchdowns last year, but the 5-foot-9 receiver has been moved into the slot this spring, which apparently didn’t jive with him.
“They told him you’re not going to catch downfield anymore,” the elder Saunders said. “That’s like telling [quarterback] Derek Carr, ‘You’re only going to run option.’
“You’re talking about someone who just had a prolific season. He’s 19. His better days are not behind him. And you’re going to limit him and his role? What about his play last year, did he not show you he’s capable?”
It’s not clear yet to where Saunders plans to transfer, but an official release from FSU states he’ll not be allowed to transfer within the conference or three places of the coach’s choice.