MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Just three days before, Dominick Sanders sounded torn on whether he would enter the NFL draft. Turns out, Sanders had already decided: He is staying.
“I’m going to stay one more year with my guys,” Sanders said. “It’s best for me. As a young man, I look at the errors I had this year, and I’m going to improve on them in the offseason and get better. The biggest thing is having another year with my guys, and being a leader, and the young guys that are coming in, I’m ready for them to come in so I can show them the ropes and the ways, and I’m just ready to be a big impact to the team.”
Sanders said he’s known for “about a week” that he would be returning.
“I just didnn’t let it be known to too many people,” Sanders said. “Hold it in and keep the focus on TCU. We got the job done. I told coach (Kirby) Smart I love him, and this is the best decision for me in the longer run. I’ll get a degree. And the main thing is just enjoying these colors, you know, enjoying the game of football. And there’s a lot of stuff I’m trying to learn as a young man. And coming back is going to help me become a better young man. The decision I made is going to help me become the man I’d become.”
Sanders has started 38 games over the past three years, the only exception being a game that he was serving a first-half suspension for targeting. And it almost happened again on Friday.
A tackle by Sanders was reviewed for targeting, but it was ruled a clean hit. Had it been targeting, Sanders would have had to sit out the first half of next year’s season opener, at home against Appalachian State.
“Oh man, I would’ve told my guys, that’s on me,” Sanders said.
Sanders was a first-team All-SEC selection as a sophomore, but didn’t net any honors this year, when his numbers slid a bit. He had three interceptions, after recording six last year.
“I still made plays this year, I just didn’t have the season I had my sophomore year,” Sanders said. “I just thank God for me to be a person who’s not had a major injury, and just keeping my focus. The main thing is in this offseason I’ve got to get bigger, and stronger and faster, and just come out and be a better man. The main thing is this year wasn’t a bad year, I just had a couple mistakes, and all I can do is learn from it and improve for next year.”