C.J. Saunders is headed to The Spring League.
After serving as a graduate assistant at Ohio State for a season, Saunders is giving professional football a shot, joining the Aviators of The Spring League, Cleveland.com reports.
Saunders spent the last season as a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes after he was not granted an NCAA waiver for a sixth season of eligibility, but has been training with the goal of playing professionally.
“I think I do have stuff left in the tank, and I didn’t really get to fully show it at Ohio State on Saturdays whether it be unhealthy or just a lot of really good players playing alongside me,” Saunders told Eleven Warriors in February. “And at the end of the day, whether I play for a long time or here in a couple months nobody calls and it’s the end of my playing days, that I can look back and say ‘I gave it everything I had’ and I put all, everything I could, into this opportunity.”
Saunders participated in Ohio State's pro day workout but was not drafted or signed by any NFL team as an undrafted free agent. The Spring League will be his first shot at playing professionally.
“I didn’t want to leave anything up to regret, so I’m just trying to exhaust all options," Saunders said in February. "And if it’s in my future, then so be it, and if not, then we’ll find something else and keep moving. But I just didn’t want to live with any regret down the road.”
After arriving at Ohio State as a walk-on cornerback in 2015, Saunders made the switch to offense and not only earned a scholarship late in his career, but was named a team captain during the 2020 season. He totaled 27 catches for 294 yards and a touchdown in his playing career.
Saunders joins former Buckeye offensive lineman Malcom Pridgeon on the Aviators' roster. The pair are the only two former Ohio State players in the league. Former Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett played in The Spring League last year and was expected to play in the league again this season, but he was not included on the official rosters released by the league last week.
The Aviators’ next game is Saturday against the Linemen at 7 p.m. with coverage on FS2.