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Patriots to sign defensive tackle Scott Vallone

The Patriots are adding undrafted rookie defensive tackle Scott Vallone, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday.

Vallone (6-3, 275) played collegiately at Rutgers. His addition gives the Patriots nine former Scarlet Knights players on the roster, including six rookies.

The 23-year-old Vallone was a four-year starter at defensive tackle (2009-2012). He was credited with 37 tackles for loss in his career, per school statistics, including 12 as a senior.

The Patriots opened three roster spots Wednesday when they waived veteran lineman Nick McDonald, rookie receiver Perez Ashford and released receiver Lavelle Hawkins.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (April 27, 2012) –Rutgers junior All-America wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (South Brunswick, N.J.) was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft Friday evening. The Bengals drafted Sanu with the 83rd overall pick.

“There really isn’t anything Mo can’t do on the football field,” said Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood. “He embodies what our players are all about – he is smart, fast and tough. For all the reasons the NFL loves Ray Rice, they will love Mo. The Cincinnati Bengals are getting a terrific person – and player – in Mo Sanu.”

Sanu joins a Bengals squad that features former Rutgers All-America running back Brian Leonard on its roster. The last third round draft pick for the Scarlet Knights was OL Jeremy Zuttah (Tampa Bay) in the 2008 NFL Draft. The Bengals drafted a Rutgers player for the first time since selecting consensus All-America TE Marco Battaglia in the 1996 NFL Draft.

Sanu, who left Rutgers a year early, is the fourth Scarlet Knight to forego his final year of eligibility since 2007. The three Scarlet Knights prior to Sanu who elected to forego their final year of eligibility under Schiano’s watch have enjoyed a tremendous amount of success at the next level. Ray Rice left Rutgers following his junior season in 2007 and was a second round draft selection of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 NFL Draft. Kenny Britt declared for the 2009 NFL Draft and was a first round pick of the Tennessee Titans while Anthony Davis was selected with the 11th overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.

Sanu finished his career as Rutgers’ and the BIG EAST’s all-time leader in career receptions with 210 after he moved past current NFL running back Brian Leonard (204) in Rutgers’ 27-13 victory over Iowa State in the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Sanu was part of two Rutgers’ bowl victories as the Scarlet Knights own the nation’s longest current bowl winning streak at five games with Mississippi State.

The 2011 Maxwell Club Tri-State Player of the Year, Sanu ended the 2011 season with 115 receptions (school and BIG EAST record) for 1,206 yards. The 1,206 yards receiving place Sanu third in RU single-season history and eighth in BIG EAST single-season history. He is currently fourth nationally with 115 receptions and 69 of his receptions in 2011 went for first downs.

A unanimous All-BIG EAST selection in 2011, Sanu was named a Fourth Team All-America selection by Phil Steele and an honorable mention All-America pick by Sanu won two major team awards in 2011 as he was named the team’s most valuable offensive player in addition to winning the Homer Hazel Trophy as the team’s most valuable player.

A Freshman All-America selection in 2009 by, Sanu set a new BIG EAST record for receptions in a game with 16 in Rutgers’ victory over Ohio in September of this season. 

Career Receiving Statistics

Year       GP-GS    Rec.        Yards     Avg.        TD           Long      
2009     13-13    51           639        12.5       3             62
2010     12-11    44           418        9.5          2             29
2011     13-13    115        1,206    10.5       7             32
Career  38-37    210        2,263    10.8       12           62

Career Rushing Statistics

Year       GP-GS    Att.         Yards     Avg.        TD           Long     
2009     13-13    62           346        5.6          5             34
2010     12-11    59           309        5.2          4             91
2011     13-13    4             -2            -0.5         0             8
Career  38-37    125        653        5.2          9             91

Sanu in Rutgers’ history …

First in career receptions (210)
First in single-season receptions (115 in 2011)
First in single-game receptions (16 vs. Ohio in 2011)
Longest run from scrimmage (91 vs. Tulane in 2010)
Second in career 100-yard receiving games (10)
Third in single-season receiving yards (1,206 in 2011)
Fourth in career receiving yards (2,263)
Tied for seventh in single-season receiving touchdowns (7 in 2011)
Tied for ninth in career receiving touchdowns (12)

Sanu in BIG EAST history …

First in single-season receptions (115 in 2011)
First in single-game receptions (16 vs. Ohio in 2011)
First in career receptions (210)
Third-longest run from scrimmage (91 vs. Tulane in 2010)
Eighth in single-season receiving yards (1,206 in 2011)
Tied for eighth in career 100-yard receiving games (10)

Dear Coach Schiano,

Thank you.  Now that the initial shock and knee-jerk reactions over your decision to take the head coach position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has given way to rational thought, it is time to reflect and thank you for all you’ve done for Rutgers.  Your leaving is saddening, but in a selfish way.  Saddening because the job seems unfinished.  Though you didn’t get us over the hump to a conference championship and BCS bowl game, it is because of you that we can actually have those realistic aspirations to begin with.  Your vision, your belief in the University and the players in the State of Rutgers has led us to national respectability and a 5-1 bowl record.

Additionally you’ve accomplished this while maintaining the highest standards of personal ethics; not only for yourself but for your coaches and players as well.  Your players didn’t just survive the academic rigors at Rutgers University, they excelled in them.  From Draddy Award nominees to the nation’s best APR ranking, you’ve shown that the young men you’ve recruited to represent this school are of the highest caliber on the field and in the classroom.  You’ve proven that Rutgers is indeed a path to the NFL, and absolutely a path to a great education for a student athlete.  Through your tenure even cynical New Jerseyans have embraced your creation.  You can’t drive anywhere in the tri-state area without seeing the Block R everywhere.  You’ve provided a source of pride for the state, and something other than The Sopranos and Jersey Shore for people to associate with us.  That in and of itself is a great accomplishment.

Outstanding linebacker and Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene used the word “bittersweet” when asked how he felt today.  That’s appropriate, because while I wish you much success (except when playing against my Raiders), I hate to see you go.  So thank you Coach, for leaving us better than you found us, and laying the foundation for great things to come.  Good luck as you Keep Choppin through this next challenge.

Francis Kicking Butt At East/West Shrine Practices

Defensive Line

The lone defensive end standout has been Rutgers’ Justin Francis (6-2/270). Other than being the West’s most vocal defender, Francis slashes in from the edge and has consistently beaten offensive tackles to the spot. Francis finds contact through his hands, but too often guesses on plays, allowing cutback lanes to open after he gets upfield. Francis has a Charles Johnson frame, so leverage is not an issue. He just needs to focus.

Desmond Wynn Impresses at East/West Shrine Practice

Projected Round: 5th-7th

OG Desmond Wynn (6’5”, 305), Rutgers: Wynn has been rising up some draft boards with a strong senior season. He’s got a good frame and shows really good base and quickness. Consistency seems to be his biggest problem, but his draft stock is rising. He looks like the type of player that a team will look to develop given his raw tools. (note: he is worth drafting just to make my caption for the picture come true)

Sanu’s Value Climbing

Mohamed Sanu climbing up boards

January, 18, 2012
Jan 18
Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu has seen his stock rise since he declared for the NFL draft.

In his first mock draft Insider, ESPN expert Mel Kiper Jr. has Sanu going No. 26 to the Houston Texans. Kiper also has Sanu rated as the No. 4 receiver available in the draft. Kiper says this of Sanu in his mock draft write-up:
Sanu is the type of guy who can stretch the field and be a huge threat across from (Andre) Johnson. And when you consider that Johnson will be 31 entering the 2012 season, the Texans need this kind of presence around if he misses any more time. Sanu is hugely productive, creates space, has good speed and can contribute early.

Since 2000, the only year the Big East did not have a first-round pick in the NFL draft was 2006. This class does not seem particularly strong. If you look at the top 5 players Kiper ranked at each position, the Big East only has two — Sanu and West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, rated as an outside linebacker.
Rutgers All Big East wide receiver Mohamed Sanu has declared himself eligible for the 2012 NFL draft. Rutgers could not have asked for a more dedicated, harder working, or better representative of the program than Mohamed Sanu. Selfishly I would have liked to see him come back but I wish him the best at the next level.  I’d love to see him in Silver and Black but draft positioning makes that unlikely.

Rutgers All Big East wide receiver Mohamed Sanu has declared himself eligible for the 2012 NFL draft. Rutgers could not have asked for a more dedicated, harder working, or better representative of the program than Mohamed Sanu. Selfishly I would have liked to see him come back but I wish him the best at the next level.  I’d love to see him in Silver and Black but draft positioning makes that unlikely.