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Penn State Football All 105

Penn State All 105: Kaden Saunders Fighting for Starting Slot Spot

Kaden Saunders carries the flag for Penn State's military appreciation game versus Indiana.

To say that Penn State football’s receivers need to be better in 2024 would be an understatement, and Kaden Saunders could be part of the solution.

Saunders came to Penn State as one of the school’s most prized recruits in the celebrated 2022 class.

But while players such as Drew Allar, Nicholas Singleton, Kaytron Allen, Abdul Carter and KJ Winston have all become regulars for Penn State, that’s yet to happen for Saunders.

Through two season, Saunders has caught eight passes for 77 yards and has one  touchdown. But the potential is still there, and Saunders is the latest subject of All 105, a Nittany Sports Now series profiling each Penn State football player.

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 176 pounds

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Before Penn State: Saunders was a two-time team captain for Westerville South High School

As a senior in 2021, he caught 38 passes for 392 yards, ran the ball 28 times for 324 yards, gained 294 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 165 yards on 12 punt returns.

As a junior, Saunders caught 47 passes for 948 yards, ran the ball eight times carries for 117 yards and gained 381 yards on 16 punt returns.

Sanders reached four-star recruit status on Rivals.com, On 3, 247Sports and ESPN. He was ranked No. 30 in the nation by ESPN, as well as the No. 4 receiver and the number two recruit in his state.

2022: Saunders redshirted his first season at Penn State, playing in three of the team’s 13 games. He caught his first two collegiate passes in the team’s 46-10 home-opening win over Ohio in Week 2.

Last year: Saunders ended the season with six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. He was also the teams primary punt returner for the first five games before being replaced by Daequan Hardy. Hardy promptly made Penn State history and returned two punts for touchdowns against UMass.

Where he stands: Saunders will likely end up fighting for a starting slot receiver spot with classmate Omari Evans and Liam Clifford, who’s a year older. The first two spots will almost surely be filled by Julian Fleming, who transferred this winter after four seasons with Ohio State, and Trey Wallace, provided both are healthy. With Hardy gone to the NFL, Sauders should also be the front runner for the starting punt returner job.

A quote by Saunders: ”Growing up, I didn’t even think I’d be playing college football,” he said. “I was always set on baseball, but once I got into high school and everything and offers started coming in, really my mind wasn’t set on going to Ohio State, it was just going to where the best fit was for me and my family.” — Kaden Saunders to reporters via Zoom ahead of the team’s game at Ohio State last October.

A quote about Saunders: “Kaden has grown a lot. He’s always asking me questions, in our room, on the field. We have a really good relationship. … I can tell he’s a lot more comfortable than he was last year. He’s playing fast. He’s playing fluid, and he’s gotten a lot stronger in the weight room.” — Drew Allar

More All 105s

WR Trey Wallace 

S Zakee Wheatley

CB Cam Miller

WR Omari Evans

CB A.J. Harris

CB Jalen Kimber

WR Julian Fleming 

S KJ Winston

WR Liam Clifford

S Jaylen Reed 

LB Dom DeLuca

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