Mohamed Sanu

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Mohamed Sanu
refer to caption
Sanu with the Falcons in 2018
No. 12 – Atlanta Falcons
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1989-08-22) August 22, 1989 (age 29)
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school: South Brunswick
(Monmouth Junction, New Jersey)
College: Rutgers
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 3 / Pick: 83
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2018
Receptions: 300
Receiving yards: 3,452
Receiving touchdowns: 23
Rushing yards: 164
Rushing touchdowns: 2
Passing yards: 228
Passing touchdowns: 3
Player stats at

Mohamed Sanu Sr. (born August 22, 1989) is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft and played college football at Rutgers.

Early life

Originally from Sayreville, New Jersey, Sanu was born to a Muslim family and also lived in his parents' native Sierra Leone as a child.[1] Sanu returned to the United States and lived in Dayton, New Jersey, where he eventually starred at South Brunswick High School as a triple-option quarterback before enrolling at Rutgers University in 2009.[2] In his final season at South Brunswick High School, Sanu led the Vikings to their first playoff berth in nearly 40 years, including three rushing touchdowns of at least 80 yards against Edison High School.[3] He was ruled ineligible to play during his senior year, due to exceeding NJSIAA's age restriction; he graduated from high school six months early and enrolled at Rutgers University in January 2009.[4]

In track & field, Sanu was one of the state's top performers in the jumping events. At the 2008 NJSIAA Sectional Championships, he placed 2nd in the triple jump (14.08 m) and 3rd in the long jump (6.43 meters). He also competed as a sprinter, recording personal-best times of 6.94 seconds in the 55 metres and 24.28 seconds in the 200 meters at the 2008 Merli Invitational.[5] He is a fan of soccer, and supports West Ham United.[6]

College career

As a true freshman, Sanu had 51 receptions for 639 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 62 times for 346 yards and five touchdowns out of the Wildcat formation.[7] Sanu was the first-ever true freshman to start at wide receiver for Rutgers under coach Greg Schiano, and he won Most Valuable Player honors at the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl. In 2010, Sanu was a consensus preseason All-Big East wide receiver. In 2011, against North Carolina, he tied a Big East record with 13 receptions.[8] The next week, he broke his own record by catching 16 passes.[9] In 2011, Sanu broke the Big East single-season reception record with 115 receptions for 1,206 yards, a record previously held by Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald.[10]

In his three seasons at Rutgers, Sanu caught 210 passes for 2,263 yards and 19 touchdowns, and gained 3,019 all-purpose yards. He also completed eight of 18 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns.[11]


Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year Team Games Rec Yds Avg TDs Att Yds Avg Tds Tch Yds Avg Tds
2009 Rutgers 13 51 639 12.5 3 62 346 5.6 5 113 985 8.7 8
2010 Rutgers 12 44 418 9.5 2 59 309 5.2 4 103 727 7.1 6
2011 Rutgers 13 115 1206 10.5 7 4 -2 -0.5 0 119 1204 10.1 7
Total 38 210 2263 10.8 12 125 653 5.2 9 335 2916 8.7 21

Professional career

Mohamed Sanu in 2012

Cincinnati Bengals

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 2 in
(1.88 m)
211 lb
(96 kg)
4.44 s 1.59 s 2.62 s 4.21 s 6.88 s 36 in
(0.91 m)
10 ft 6 in
(3.20 m)
19 reps
All values from NFL Combine

During the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Sanu received a prank phone call from somebody pretending to be Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown, informing him that the Bengals were going to use their 27th overall pick on him.[12] The following day, Sanu received a phone call from the real Mike Brown, who informed him they would be drafting him in the third round with the 83rd overall pick.[13]

On September 23, 2012, against the Washington Redskins, Sanu came in as the wildcat quarterback out of a shotgun formation for the Bengals on the first play from scrimmage of the game, and threw a 73-yard touchdown pass to A. J. Green, giving Sanu his first touchdown pass before his first NFL reception.[14] The pass also gave Sanu a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the game. He was also the first Bengals wide receiver ever to throw a touchdown pass. Sanu had his first touchdown catch during Week 10 against the New York Giants. He finished the game with four receptions for 47 yards.[15] In Week 12, against the Oakland Raiders, he had five receptions for 29 yards and two touchdowns in the 34–10 victory for his first career game with multiple touchdowns.[16] On November 30, 2012, it was announced that Sanu had season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture.[17]

Sanu with the Bengals in 2013

Sanu played in all 16 games of the 2013 NFL season finishing with 47 receptions, 455 yards, and 2 touchdowns.[18][19] The Bengals finished with an 11–5 record and won the AFC North.[20] In the Wild Card Round against the San Diego Chargers, he had a 13-yard reception in his playoff debut, a 27–10 loss.[21]

In the 2014 NFL season, Sanu played a much bigger role in the Bengals offense due to injuries to receivers A. J. Green and Marvin Jones. He recorded two 100-yard games in 2014.[22] In Week 2, Sanu recorded a career-long 76-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Andy Dalton in the 24–10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.[23] In Week 3, Sanu threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to his quarterback, Andy Dalton in a 33–7 victory over the Tennessee Titans.[24] It was Sanu's fourth completion of his career on four passing attempts as well as being his second touchdown pass of his career. In Week 6, against the Carolina Panthers, he had a career-high 10 receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown in the 37–37 tie.[25] In Week 8, against the Baltimore Ravens, he had five receptions for a career-high 125 yards in the 27–24 victory.[26] The Bengals returned to the playoffs with a 10–5–1 record.[27] In the Wild Card Round against the Indianapolis Colts, he had three receptions for 31 receiving yards on seven targets in the 26–10 loss.[28]

In the 2015 NFL season, Sanu had 33 receptions for 394 yards.[29] In Week 9, against the Cleveland Browns, he scored his first career rushing touchdown on a 25-yard reverse.[30] The Bengals finished with a 12–4 record and won the AFC North.[31] In the Wild Card Round against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had three receptions for 17 receiving yards in the 18–16 loss.[32]

Atlanta Falcons

On March 10, 2016, Sanu signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.[33] In his Falcons debut in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had five receptions for 80 yards, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion in the 31–24 loss.[34] He had 59 receptions for 653 yards and four touchdowns in his first year in Atlanta.[35] The Falcons won the NFC South and reached the playoffs with a 11–5 record.[36] In the Divisional Round against the Seattle Seahawks, he finished with four receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown in the 36–20 victory.[37] In the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers, he finished with five receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown in the final NFL Game in the Georgia Dome.[38] The Falcons reached Super Bowl LI, playing against the New England Patriots. During the Super Bowl, Sanu had two receptions for 25 yards in the 34–28 overtime defeat against the Patriots.[39][40][41]

In Week 2 of the 2017 NFL season, against the Green Bay Packers, Sanu had a season-high 85 receiving yards in the 34–23 victory.[42] In Week 12 , Sanu threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Julio Jones in a 34–20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[43] Overall, in the 2017 season, Sanu finished with 67 receptions for 703 yards and five touchdowns.[44] The Falcons finished with a 10–6 record and qualified for the playoffs.[45] In the Wild Card Round, he finished with four receptions for 75 yards in the 26–13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.[46] In the Divisional Round, he had three receptions for 50 yards in the 15–10 loss to the eventual Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia Eagles.[47]

After a relatively slow start to the 2018 season, Sanu had six receptions for 111 yards in the 37–36 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.[48]

Personal stock offering

It was reported that Sanu would offer stock tracking his future income via a venture with Fantex, Inc. as part of a new financial instrument being sold by Fantex. Sanu offered Fantex a 10% share of future earnings from his brand. Fantex securitized the contract and offered shares of a publicly traded tracking stock.[49]

In November 2014, the IPO was completed, in which 164,300 shares were sold, valued at $10 per share.[50]

Personal Life

During the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Sanu was pranked called on draft day by a teenager who informed him he had been drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. When the pick was officially announced, Sanu and his family and friends realized his name was not called. However, he still ended up being drafted by the Bengals in the third round. [51]


  1. ^ "Freshman Mohamed Sanu does a lot of everything for Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Tampa Bay Times". Retrieved June 11, 2012.
  2. ^ "Falcons' Sanu still giving back to South Brunswick". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  3. ^ Morrison, Jay. "Bio for Bengals’ third-round pick Mohamed Sanu" Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine., Dayton Daily News, April 27, 2012. Accessed March 29, 2013. "In his final season at South Brunswick, Sanu led the Vikings to their first playoff berth in nearly forty years, including three rushing touchdowns of at least 80 yards vs. Edison High School."
  4. ^ Allinder, Jimmy. "Sanu leaving his mark on Rutgers football"[permanent dead link], Sentinel, October 13, 2010. Accessed March 29, 2013. "Sanu is hoping for more of the same success that enabled his high school team to finish 9-2 in 2008, his final season. Because he turned 19 in his senior year, the NJSIAA declared him ineligible to play that year."
  5. ^ "Mohamed Sanu - Stats". NJ MileSplit.
  6. ^ Gibson, Sean (2016-03-14). "Why did this NFL star propose to his girlfriend during the Capital One Cup final?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  7. ^ "Mohamed Sanu 2009 Game Log". College Football at Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  8. ^ "Rutgers at North Carolina Box Score, September 10, 2011". College Football at Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  9. ^ "Ohio at Rutgers Box Score, September 24, 2011". College Football at Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  10. ^ Caldwell, Dave (2011-11-18). "Rutgers's Sanu, Converted to a Receiver, Is Breaking Records". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  11. ^ "Mohamed Sanu Career Game Log". College Football at Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  12. ^ King, Peter (2012-04-27). "Dallas Cowboys surprise Morris Claiborne by trading up to pick him in NFL Draft". Retrieved 2012-06-11.
  13. ^ "2012 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  14. ^ "Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins - September 23rd, 2012". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  15. ^ "New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals - November 11th, 2012". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  16. ^ "Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals - November 25th, 2012". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  17. ^ "Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu to have foot surgery, likely out for season". Sporting News. 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  18. ^ Hanzus, Dan. "Mohamed Sanu's season could end with stress fracture",, December 1, 2012. Accessed March 29, 2012.
  19. ^ Katzowitz, Josh. "Bengals Place WR Mohamed Sanu on IR", CBS Sports, December 4, 2012. Accessed March 29, 2013. "But late last week, Sanu suffered a stress fracture in his foot during practice. On Tuesday, the Bengals placed him on the IR list, ending his season."
  20. ^ "2013 Cincinnati Bengals Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  21. ^ "Wild Card - San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals - January 5th, 2014". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  22. ^ "Mohamed Sanu 2014 Game Log". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  23. ^ "Atlanta Falcons at Cincinnati Bengals - September 14th, 2014". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  24. ^ "Tennessee Titans at Cincinnati Bengals - September 21st, 2014". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  25. ^ "Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals - October 12th, 2014". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  26. ^ "Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals - October 26th, 2014". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  27. ^ "2014 Cincinnati Bengals Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  28. ^ "Wild Card - Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts - January 4th, 2015". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  29. ^ "Mohamed Sanu 2015 Game Log". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  30. ^ "Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals - November 5th, 2015". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  31. ^ "2015 Cincinnati Bengals Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  32. ^ "Wild Card - Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals - January 9th, 2016". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  33. ^ "Falcons Agree to Terms With WR Sanu".
  34. ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons - September 11th, 2016". Retrieved 2017-12-28.
  35. ^ "Mohamed Sanu 2016 Game Log". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  36. ^ "2016 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  37. ^ "Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons - January 14th, 2017". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  38. ^ "NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons - January 22nd, 2017". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  39. ^ "2016 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  40. ^ "Super Bowl LI - New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons - February 5th, 2017". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  41. ^ Chadiha, Jeffri. "Falcons' historic collapse leads to Patriots' fifth Super Bowl win". NFL. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  42. ^ "Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons - September 17th, 2017". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  43. ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons - November 26th, 2017". Retrieved 2017-12-25.
  44. ^ "Mohamed Sanu 2017 Game Log". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  45. ^ "2017 Atlanta Falcons Statistics & Players". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  46. ^ "Wild Card - Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Rams - January 6th, 2018". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  47. ^ "Divisional Round - Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles - January 13th, 2018". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  48. ^ "Bengals get win in final seconds - The Tribune". The Tribune. 2018-10-01. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  49. ^ "Company selling stock in Mohamed Sanu for $10".
  50. ^ "Stock In Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu Is On The Rise".
  51. ^

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from · ESPN · Pro-Football-Reference
  • Media related to Mohamed Sanu at Wikimedia Commons
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