When Westover running back Shannon Saunders signed on the dotted line, he says it was the beginning of his fresh start.
The Patriots leading rusher and First Team All Region 1-AAAA selection signed with Missouri Southern State Wednesday afternoon.
"I think getting away will be a good thing, from all the drama, all the things that happen down here," Saunders says. "I wanted to make a new life, and a better decision for me for where I go to school."
Saunders played all four years for Westover, but his career wasn't free of bumps.
In 2011, he was indicted on rape and aggravated assault charges.
The charges were eventually lessened, and the case was settled in juvenile court.
"It's been a rocky road for him, and he was able to overcome that adversity," says Westover head coach Octavia Jones. "He had a good support system here and at home. So when you have people around here that support you, through the grace of God, good things can happen."
Saunders says leaving and getting away from home was important to him. That was a key factor in selecting MSSU.
"It was a lot of emotions and it was a lot of things I had to do to forget about what happened and move on to the future and my career," Saunders says.
Now he's headed to Joplin, Missouri to begin his career as a Lion.
He hopes to provide MSSU with the same type of production he brought to the Patriots' offense.
"I looked over some of their game film, and I feel like I fit alright in their offense," he says.
Jones says he believes Saunders' athleticism will serve him well at the next level.
"He's got good speed. He's got power," Jones says. "He can make you miss. He can run you over. He's very versatile."
The Lions play in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. Saunders chose MSSU over Georgia State and Tuskegee.
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