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March 16, 2013
HOUSTON -- There isn't a lot of football being played in the Bahamas but that hasn't slowed Mavin Saunders.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end showed up at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour looking to show others, as well as himself, what he could do.
Saunders -- originally from Bimini -- now attends school at Houston (Texas) Kincaid and already has offers from Florida State and Mississippi State. As he attempts to increase his aptitude on the gridiron, Saunders is relying on a more familiar skillset.
"My strength is going up and getting (the ball)," Saunders said. "I am using my basketball skills right now and I just came here to learn; learn how to run routes, learn more about the game."
He is learning more about himself as well.
His transition to the game has been smooth and that is something he credits to his support structure.
"It was tough at the beginning but I have great coaches and teammates," Saunders said. "They helped me (learn the game) pretty quickly. I was able to catch on but I am still in the process of learning."
Saunders has had his recruiting pick up recently. In addition to Florida State and Mississippi State, schools like Texas, Texas A&M and Oregon have begun scouting his talents.
Rivals.com regional analyst Jason Howell said that he likes what he has seen, even if the product is far from finished.
"He has great size and is a very good athlete," Howell said. "He has played all wide receiver in high school but probably projects more at a flex-tight end position unless someone is willing to give him a chance to stay at receiver like Texas A&M did with Ricky Seals-Jones.
"He has zero experience at tight end and he is very raw overall. He has good instincts from basketball and goes to get the ball at the highest point so there are a lot of natural talents to work with."
Being a potential diamond in the rough is something that Saunders embraces. He also understands that schools may take their time evaluating him before offering.
[ MORE: Mavin Saunders talks about his growth as a football player on Y! Sports Radio ]
"They know I am raw," he said. "They are just seeing how far I can go with this. Right now I'm just trying to get better so my senior year will be a lot more successful."
His time at the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour was spent learning and getting better.
"I am trying to increase my speed and try to be around people with knowledge of the game," he said. "I'm from a country that we don't even play this sport so being honest is the best thing.
"I am going to try to pick as many brains as I can and learn the position to take into the school year and get better."
As he improves and more offers come his way, Saunders said the willingness of Florida State to show the initial interest will play a role in his final decision.
"The guy said he saw my film and that he thinks I can do something special," Saunders said. "I am thankful for that and looking forward to having other offers and going down there and visiting -- and going to other places and visiting -- then seeing how thing will turn out next year when it's time for me to make a decision."
Saunders continues to evaluate his options and doesn't expect to make a decision until closer to National Signing Day.
With his performance on Saturday, those options figure to expand.
Louisiana locks down Houston, Five-Star invitesWith nearly 200 players in attendance, the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Amour gave many of the top players in the region an opportunity to play their way into the Rivals Five-Star Challenge.
Two of the top players from Louisiana took full advantage.
Teammates Gerald Willis III and Speedy Noil of New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr took home invitations from the camp.
Rivals.com regional analyst Jason Howell said the pair showed the analyst team exactly what he anticipated entering the event.
"Willis is a highly productive player on the field," Howell said. "He is also a known commodity. He is high-energy with a good motor. He can play the run or get after the quarterback and at his size he can slide inside and play tackle if needed.
"Speedy is exactly what his name implies. It is all speed and quickness. What has really helped elevate his game is that he is playing quarterback at Karr and so he has a more complete knowledge of the offense because he knows where the receivers are supposed to be and then he can apply that to his game."
La Porte (Texas) High linebacker Hoza Scott arrived late to the camp but made it in time for one-on-one competition in the afternoon and showcased his ability in coverage.
The four-star Texas A&M commit checked in at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds and looked like he was in great physical condition in earning his red envelope to the elite event.
Davon's desireFour-star defensive lineman Davon Godchaux entered the Houston stop of the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour with the goal of earning an invitation to this summer's Rivals Five-Star Challenge.
He did just that, and also took home the defensive line MVP award.
"I think I did a good job today," he said. "I wanted to put it in God's hands and I knew it would be taken care of."
[ MORE: Devon Gochaux explains what he is looking for in a school on Y! Sports Radio ]
Godchaux added that he was happy with his overall ranking of No. 208 in the Rivals250 but said the invitation to play against players ranked ahead of him is what is motivating him to participate in the Rivals Five-Star Challenge.
"I don't know if Da'Shawn Hand or Andrew Brown are better than me," he said. "I want to see them up close and see what they have and what I have."