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Former South Carolina TE Saunders declared eligible for draft

Weslye Saunders' agent said the NFL has declared the former University of South Carolina tight end eligible for April's draft.

James "Butch" Williams said Saunders learned of the league's decision Monday and will attend the NFL's combine for draft-eligible players in Indianapolis later this month.

Saunders was at the center of an NCAA inquiry at South Carolina for potential contact with agents and for several football players staying at a local hotel at discounted rates. Saunders, a senior this past fall, was suspended in late August and permanently dismissed a few weeks later without playing a game.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder from Raleigh, N.C., initially was ruled ineligible after he didn't file an application for a special eligibility waiver before a Jan. 15, deadline, but an appeal filed by Williams, who argued that Saunders did not need to declare as an underclassman, was granted.

Saunders ranked third for South Carolina in 2009 with 32 receptions for 363 yards. He caught 60 passes for 718 yards and six touchdowns in his college career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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