Pushing His Way One Card at a Time
"He is very motivated by people telling him he can't do something," said Andy Hill, Missouri wide receivers coach.
"I'm not the fastest guy on the team so I've got to make up for it in a different way. I have to be the strongest receiver," Saunders said.
And Saunders is getting stronger the traditional way, with hard work.
"I was making my new years resolutions and I wanted something I could do all the time. Not just in the weight room or just at practice, but all the time so I could get better," he said.
So the sophomore came up with a goal, 100,000 push ups before the end of the year.
"I didn't look at him like he was crazy until I found out he was 40,000 in," said Coach Hill.
Saunders explained, "I was doing the math and thinking what would be a good number to do and 100,000 was a good number. Something like 274 a day."
He does anywhere from 200 to 1200 per day. How does he decide? Depends on the hand he's dealt.
"Six and lower is five and seven and higher is ten. Aces are 15, jokers are 25," he added.
Coach Hill said, "That's part of the fun. I think the old school thought. I think Tommy is sort of an old school guy in his mentality and his work ethic."
He's catching the coaches attention and not just on the field.
"Actually motivated myself and some other coaches to not quite get to 100,000 but 100 a day is pretty good," he added.
Saunders has already pushed past 50,000 and plans on completing his goal by December 31st.
"His mentality is one if he sets his mind to something. He is going to do it," said Coach Hill.
"I didn't get a scholarship out of high school and I had to work that much harder. To earn a scholarship means that much more. So I just have to keep it up, keep working hard," Saunders said.
Saunders also has been active as a big brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in Columbia.