Two Warriors make college decisions

Published 8:39 pm Thursday, February 12, 2015

Two of Nansemond River High School’s two-way football standouts recently made public their college commitments.

Quarterback/linebacker DeShon Saunders chose to continue his education and football career at Elizabeth City State University and offensive guard/defensive tackle Leonard Floyd chose to continue both at Christopher Newport University.

“Leonard and DeShon both did everything we asked this year, and it’s nice to see them compete at the next level, because that’s what they want,” Warriors coach David Coccoli said.

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“I always put God first,” Saunders said. “Now, my mom always told me, ‘Whatever God has for you is for you,’ so that’s what I always stuck by, that’s the main reason why I just felt like something was going to come.”

His mom told him to just wait — his coach told him the same thing — and to keep working out and working hard in the classroom.

And something came. He is set to receive a nearly full athletic scholarship from Elizabeth City State, which plays at the NCAA Division II level.

Saunders also received interest from Shenandoah University, The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Chowan University and CNU.

He said there are some details still up in the air regarding Elizabeth City State, but aside from those things, “I feel like it’s a great choice. I feel like I will fit there perfectly.”

What gave ECSU the edge over the other schools was “really, the financial part of it. College is a big thing to pay for,” he said.

His mind was on the financial burden his mother and father would be shouldering.

“I knew if I would try to walk on, they’ll still be paying for a lot, and I still have an older brother that goes to Ferrum College, so it would be kind of hard on my parents,” he said.

Saunders, who has several family members who have attended Elizabeth City State, also liked the coaching at the school. Based on conversations with Vikings assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Alvin Parker, he thinks he will be on offense, potentially playing a variety of skill positions.

He plans to major in either sports psychology or sports management.

Leonard Floyd had been interested in playing college football since he was in the seventh grade.

Now that it is happening, he said, “It feels good to know you can go to the next level and just play football and get the experience.”

He received interest from Christopher Newport, Shenandoah and Averett University.

When he visited CNU, he got a positive impression of the school and got to take in a game.

“The game atmosphere was good,” he said. “For all the other schools, I didn’t really get to go to a game or whatnot, so I didn’t really get to see how they did things and stuff. But I got to see a couple of college campuses, and CNU was the best.”

Because Christopher Newport is an NCAA Division III school, it cannot offer athletic scholarships, but Floyd will be receiving an academic scholarship and has a spot on the football team reserved for him.

Floyd said Captains recruiting coordinator Paul Crowley liked what he saw of him on film, and a defensive coach had a similar opinion. Floyd expects to play on the defensive side of the ball, where he said a lot of graduates have left empty spots to fill.

“I’m excited for Leonard,” Coach Coccoli said. “I graduated from (CNU), so there’s a little bit of happiness that I’ll get to see him when I go watch them play.”

Floyd said he will probably major in business administration.