Tuesday Practice Notes

For freshman Mohamed Sanu, the decision to enroll early was a simple one. Faced with an ineligible status for his senior year with the South Brunswick football team, Sanu knew that getting to the Rutgers football team early was the right thing to do.

"I made that decision early in my high school career with my high school coaches because I knew I couldnt play my senior year so it was like: whats the point in staying? So I had to speed it up", Mohamed Sanu said. "In order to do that I just took extra classes and made my decision to come here early."

"You get a huge step on everyone", Sanu said. "You get to learn the playbook faster so when everybody in the summer comes, you can help teach them what you already know and get them in the system faster."

Now that the 6'2 215-pound freshman is enrolled at Rutgers University, he's turning heads left and right at the safety position, highlighted by his physical play.

"He's impressed me in his physical abilities", said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. "The thing we didnt know about Sanu is when he hits you, because he played quarterback [in high school], is [how hard] he'll hit you. He hit a guy so hard the other day that it looked like Courtney [Greene]. Thats how hard he hit the guy. Theres not a lot that hit like Courtney. That was encouraging."

And any safety that draws a comparison to Courtney Greene as a true freshman is clearly doing the right things.

Greene had about as good of a freshman year as a safety could have, leading the team with 116 tackles on his way to a team-record 51 consecutive starts in a Rutgers uniform to go along with 386 career tackles and seven interceptions.

For Sanu, the goal is not yet to start like Greene did in his first game, but to continue to learn a playbook that was completely foreign to him at the start of the semester.

"Everyone's helped me out, Zaire Kitchen, Devin McCourty, Khaseem [Greene]", Sanu said.

"All of the guys have helped me I need to learn to read the quarterback better and getting off on my breaks."

And that hitting ability that drew comparisons to Greene, Sanu feels the same way, saying that hitting is essential.

"You have to be able to deliver a blow to a receiver coming up the middle or a running back coming through the hole and let them know youre here or else theyre going to run all over you", Sanu said.

Senior cornerback Devin McCourty said that Sanu has made great progress so far and is impressed by his quick grasp of what to do at safety.

"For a guy like Mohamed Sanu, to come here and be able to run out on the field and know what you are doing is pretty impressive", McCourty said. "He just got here this spring so thats always impressive to see a guy pick up the system that quick."

The biggest adjustment for Sanu is the speed of the college game. In high school, Sanu was used to running all over defenses as a dual-threat quarterback, but now he is faced with athletes that all did the same thing in their respective high schools.

"The speed and everybodys athleticism [is so much different]", Sanu said. "Everybodys a big time player, strong, fast so you have to be that much stronger, that much faster and work that much harder."

Practice Notes:
Sanu and redshirt freshman cornerback Brandon Bing played wide receiver instead of defense today, but Schiano said that it is far too early to judge if either move will be permanent. Neither is expected to see time on offense Saturday at the spring game.

Senior wide receiver Tim Brown practiced fully today and Schiano said afterwards that last Saturdays potential injury was nothing of concern.

Senior tight end Shamar Graves, on the other hand, injured his ankle in practice according to Schiano, but he does not yet know the extent of his injury.

Junior tackle Howard Barbieri took snaps with the twos at center today.


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