BRADENTON – Ace Sanders was an integral part of the Manatee High football team that upset No.1 ranked St. Thomas Aquinas in the 2009 state semi-final. Sanders caught 65 passes that season for just under a thousand yards. His talents caught the eye of legendary coach Steve Spurrier who recruited him to play for South Carolina, where the dynamic athlete has emerged as perhaps the best punt returner in the conference.
Sanders (5'8, 175) was selected by Southeast Conference coaches to the first-team All-SEC squad as an all-purpose player. Considering that the SEC has been the most competitive football conference in the nation over the past decade – with teams like LSU, Alabama, Florida and Auburn – the selection is quite a tribute to the local player's talent.
Sanders, a junior majoring in visual communications, was the second leading receiver for the Gamecocks last season and set the school's single-season record for punt return yardage this year with 363, while also topping the SEC in return average. As a true freshman in 2010, Sanders played in all 14 of South Carolina's games, earning SEC All-Freshman team honors.
Ace's father, Tracy Sanders, was the QB for Manatee's first state championship team in 1983, before going on to play DB for Florida State and the Buffalo Bills. The elder Sanders currently coaches defensive backs for the Hurricanes.
|Sanders returns a punt 70 yards against Georgia for the score|