Mohamed Sanu has been a huge part of the surge in offense for the Atlanta Falcons this year, propelling them to the Super Bowl. Sanu has formed the base for a receiving corps that gave Matt Ryan the opportunity to excel at quarterback, and eventually earn his first MVP.
Sanu signed a big contract to come over to the Falcons, and he earned his stripes with 59 receptions for 653 yards during the 2016 season. The former Rutgers standout and Cincinnati Bengal star has had an interesting career, and now he is playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots.
Here are 5 fast facts you need to know about Mohamed Sanu.
1. He Broke Records set by Larry Fitzgerald in College
Sanu was a true freshman at Rutgers and ran out of the Wildcat formation. He had 51 receptions and 639 yards, three touchdowns, and rushed 62 times for 346 yards and five touchdowns. He was the first-ever true freshman to start at wide receiver for then head coach Greg Schiano. In 2009, Rutgers won the St. Petersburg Bowl defeating University of Central Florida 45-24. Sanu was the MVP on the game.
In 2011, Sanu broke Larry Fitzgerald’s Big-East single-season reception record with 115 receptions and 1,206 yards.
Sanu finished his college career with 210 receptions for 2,263 yards and 19 touchdowns.
2. He Threw his First NFL Touchdown Pass Before Catching his First NFL Reception
In his rookie season in 2012, Sanu came into a game against the Washington Redskins in the Wildcat formation. From the Bengals first play from scrimmage he threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green.
Sanu became the first Bengals wide receiver in history to ever throw a touchdown pass as well as noting that the receiver threw a touchdown pass before catching his first ever NFL reception.
3. Sanu was Roommates with Patriots DB Logan Ryan at Rutgers
Before ever making it to the Super Bowl as a receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, Mohamed Sanu was college roommates with New England Patriots defensive back, Logan Ryan.
The two played together for two years at Rutgers winning the 2009 St Petersburg Bowl. Now the two former players will be going head to head on sports biggest stage.
Ryan texted Sanu after New England’s drubbing of Pittsburgh in the AFC title game with only a wide-eyed emoji. Sanu replied with the same emoji. Ryan usually covers the slot received, Sanu specializes as a slot receiver so they should see a lot of each other during the game.
4. His Parents Came to the United States from Sierra Leone
Mohamed Sanu’s parents immigrated to the US from the African country of Sierra Leone. His father, Samuel Sanu was a professional soccer player for Sierra Leone’s National Team, his mother Aminata left and became a successful business woman.
Sanu’s mother Aminata Koroman left Sierra Leone in 1975 during the height of the countries bloody civil war. She became a successful business woman in American eventually going back and forth to her home country with Sanu. His mother Aminata now runs an orphanage for boys ranging 12-18 who lost their parents in Sierra Leone’s civil war. She has also run for a seat in the country’s Parliament.
5. He Proposed to his Wife at Wembley Stadium
Sanu traveled to England during an off-season trip to Wembley Stadium to catch the English Football League Cup between Liverpool and Manchester City in 20016.
He decided to propose to his fiance, Lauren MacKenzie, when Liverpool scored a goal, however he was left waiting longer than expected until seven minutes from full-time when they finally scored, in front of 86,000 spectators.
He goes onto say that he, and his fiance, are big fans of soccer and that Wembley Stadium was the perfect place to pop the question.