Mohamed Sanu is a Junior wide receiver for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Sanu is originally from South Brunswich, New Jersey, committing to Rutgers
as a member 2009 recruiting class. He was the first true freshmen to start for head coach Greg Schiano and has been featured as not only a receiver, but also a running back and quarterback in wildcat formations. In 2010, Sanu actually led his team with 4 rushing touchdowns. In 2011, he broke Larry Fitzgerald’s Big East receptions record and Kenny Britt’s Rutgers reception record with 94 catches after Rutgers’ November 11th victory over Army. Sanu has also dabbled in punting for the Knights. He was originally brought onto the roster as a safety, but was moved to receiver before his freshmen season even began.
Size: 6’2″ 215 // Sanu has ideal size for the possession type of receiver that goes over the middle and makes the tough catches. Rather thin, sprinter-like lower body. It is his upper body that often allows him to shield out defenders on close plays.
Speed: Certainly not the type of receiver that is going to line up and run away from anybody, but he’s not slow either. I expect him to run anywhere from the 4.5 to the 4.55 range at the NFL Combine. Much more of a high-volume, possession receiver than he is a burner. You will never mistake him for a DeSean Jackson. Runs high and flat-footed at times which clearly do not help him in this department. Long strides make it look like he is traveling slower than he really is when he hits top speed.
Quickness: Sanu’s short area burst could also use some work. You’ll rarely see him drive with force off of the line and, for a player that already lacks in the speed department, quickness is going to be something that he’ll have to improve upon. As far as quickness off the line is concerned, Sanu is often the
last player off the snap of the ball simply because he has an odd clutch in his stance right before taking off. This should be easily fixed by a coach simply telling him to bend more at the line and get that initial burst right off the snap. Not too concerned with that aspect of his game as it is an easy fix.
Hands: Sanu has very big, strong hands that allow him to fearlessly pluck the ball in any scenario. Extremely impressive considering he is a converted QB out of high school. Just very fluid and the ball rarely is bobbled once in his vicinity. He should work on his tendency to short arm the football when he has a defender on him, because that will lead to pass deflections at the next level. Has the ability to high point the ball, but simply does not display it on a regular basis. Has the ability to consistently make the difficult catches, even the one-handed ones.
Body Control: Looks awkward at times trying to contort his body to make the more difficult catches. Somewhat tight hips that make it difficult for him to adjust to a ball out of his range. Terrific at jump balls as evidence by his one-handed grab in the 2011 game against North Carolina.
Route Running: Considering Sanu is equipped with long sprinter legs, route running does not come naturally. He struggles to break down and drop his hips in and out of his cuts. His tight hips make change of direction a difficult process at times and he often lacks separation because of it. Relies much more on pure body size and long strides to gain last-second separation.
In Traffic: Sanu just seems to relish the opportunity to go over the middle. Rarely will you see him go a series without exploiting the middle of the field and he is simply fearless between the hashmarks. Very good at snatching the ball from defenders, tucking it, and looking up field. Concentration with defenders around him is tremendous.
YAC: Simply put, Sanu is elite in this category. There’s a reason the Scarlet Knights line him up as a Wildcat QB. Very comparable to Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin in this element of the game as he often is the one seeking out contact once the ball is in his hands. He is a punisher when heading up field, getting low with his shoulder pads and usually winning the battle between he and the defender. Has a monster stiff arm to match this ability. Won’t break away from faster NFL secondaries in the open field, but he will go through them.
Blocking: To put rather modestly, Sanu may be the best blocking WR that I have ever had the pleasure of scouting. He truly has a fullback’s mentality of not only taking his man out of the play, but eliminating the next guy after that. Like Hines Ward, Sanu appears to enjoy the nuances of blocking and will crush defenders when given the opportunity to do so.
Injury: Sanu battled through a 2010 season that was injury-ridden from the get-go. He battled through both ankle and hamstring injuries through the season, saying that was only at 60%. He ended the year with shoulder surgery that left him out until midway through the team’s 2011 Spring practices.
Character: Sanu is reported as being a tremendous competitor that works his tail off every day to be the best he can be and whatever he is asked to do. Known as a true team-player.
Summary: Mohamed Sanu would sit as my 4th receiver prospect in this potential 2012 class behind Justin Blackmon, Alshon Jeffrey, and Michael Floyd. Sanu’s grade in this class is a late 1st rounder to early 2nd round selection by my evaluation. He compares favorably to Giants’ receiver Hakeem Nicks as a prospect.