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Mohamed Sanu

Sport: Football

Born: August 23, 1989

Town: South Brunswick

Mohamed Sanu was born August 23, 1989 in Sayreville. He grew up in a Muslim family and spent time in his parents’ native country of Sierra Leone as a boy. Tall and quick with explosive jumping ability, Mohamad was drawn to track and football at South Brunswick High. As a junior in 2007, Mohamed was the starting quarterback for the Vikings. The following spring, he ranked among the top competitors in New Jersey in the triple jump and long jump. As a 19-year-old senior in the fall of 2008, he was ineligible to play football, so he graduated early and enrolled at nearby Rutgers University with an eye on playing football for the Scarlet Knights.

Mohamed won a starting job as a freshman in 2009 and was one of the team’s top Wildcat options. He caught 51 passes and ran the ball 62 times for a total of 985 total yards from scrimmage. Rutgers went 8–4 and earned an invitation to the St. Petersburg Bowl. The Scarlet Knight beat Central Florida 45—24 and Mohamad was named MVP after running for two TDs and catching a scoring pass. In 2010, Mohamed caught 44 passes and ran the ball 59 times for a total of 727 yards. He also threw three TD passes.

Mohamed had a record-smashing season as a junior in 2011. He set a Big East record with 16 catches in a game, and finished the year with 115 catches to break a mark held by Larry Fitzgerald. Mohamed was strictly a receiver in 2011 and finished the year with 1,206 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Mohamed declared for the 2012 NFL Draft and was picked in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals. He started a handful of games as a rookie, catching 16 passes and scoring 4 touchdowns. In a September game against the Redskins, he threw a 73-yard TD pass as a Wildcat quarterback. As a starter in 2013, he caught 47 passes and scored twice. In 2014, Mohamad teamed with A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham to give the Bengals one of the NFL’s most effective aerial attacks, with each receiver topping 55 catches.

In 2015, Mohamed played a diminished role in the Cincinnati offense, losing his starting job to Marvin Jones. He still caught 49 passes as the Bengals went 12–4 and won the AFC North. Mohamed caught 3 passes against the Steelers in the Wild Card game, but Cincinnati lost 18–16 on a field with 14 seconds left.Mohamed left the Bengals after the season and signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. He caught a TD pass from Matt Ryan in his first game with his new team and finished the regular season with 59 receptions. The Falcons went all the way to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Patriots in overtime. Mohamed had 11 catches in the postseason, including 2 in the Super Bowl.

Mohamed upped his catch total to 67 in 2017 and also threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones in a game agaist the Bucs. The Falcons returned to the playoffs and won the Wild Card game against the Rams, but fell in the Divisional round to the Eagles. Mohamed had 7 receptions for 125 yards in the two games. In 2018, Mohamed had 66 catches and a career-best 838 yards. He threw another TD pass against Tampa Bay, this one to quarterback Matt Ryan.

In 2019, the Falcons traded Mohamed to the Patriots at mideseason. He had 33 receptions for Atlanta and 26 for New England. In his second game for the Pats he reeled in 10 Tom Brady passes in a loss to the Ravens. The Patriots made the playoffs but could not survive their Wild Card meeting with the Titans. Mohamed was shut down, catching just one pass in the game. The Pats cut Mohamed in camp the following summer but he was able to catch on with the 49ers. However, San Francisco released him after three games. The Lions snapped him up and he finied the year with 17 catches in 10 games.


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