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Receiver Sanu to leave Rutgers, enter NFL draft

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)

Perhaps the most telling part of Mohamed Sanu's press conference Tuesday to announce his decision to enter this April's NFL draft was when a reporter asked if there was anything left for him to accomplish at Rutgers:

''Not that I can think of, no.''

So, Sanu - a junior wide receiver who shattered both Big East and Rutgers single-season records for receptions this season, and finished the year with 115 catches, 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns - will join a deep receiving class headed to the NFL, rather than stick with the Scarlet Knights one more season.

''After speaking to my family and looking at the pros and cons about staying and leaving,'' he said, ''we feel it is best to declare.''

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Sanu is a potential first-round pick, who had double-digit receptions six times this season, and posted seven 100-yard games. Rutgers finished 9-4 after a 27-13 win over Iowa State last Friday in the Pinstripe Bowl.

''It was a tough decision'' he said. ''I definitely was thinking about coming back. I love Rutgers, just being around my teammates all the time. I'm going to miss that aspect of it.''

Sanu came to grips with his decision shortly after last Friday's win over the Cyclones. He even sought advice from NFL talent evaluators, Rutgers teammates and coach Greg Schiano. He also checked in with former Scarlet Knights running back Ray Rice, now a standout with the Baltimore Ravens.

Ultimately, though, he followed his heart.

''I'm emotionally attached to this team,'' he said. ''(They) are my brothers, the coaches are like my fathers, and we have such a tight bond.''

Sanu is a potential first-round pick, although a hefty receiver class became a little deeper Monday, after Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon declared for the draft following the Fiesta Bowl.

''He's going to be a great pro athlete,'' Schiano said of Sanu. ''He's meant a ton for this program. He's a guy who does everything. I don't know if you ever replace a guy like him. He was a sure-handed punt returner, just an incredible receiver, he produced in the run game with the wildcat (formation), and his freshman spring, we had him starting at safety.''

Sanu, 22, said his next step will be to hire an agent and then decide where he will train for NFL workouts. A Labor Studies major, he is two semesters shy of graduating.

So, returning to Rutgers to earn his degree remains a goal.

''As I said all along,'' Schiano added, ''what makes him so special, is for as great of an athlete as he is, he's an even better person.''

Schiano admitted replacing Sanu's versatility will be a challenge, but he also expressed optimism for next season.

''A lot can happen between now and next fall, but I'm encouraged,'' said Schiano, whose team will return 14 starters, including eight on defense. ''I'm certainly encouraged by the direction the program is headed, by the people in the program, the coaching staff and players, the support personnel.

''It takes a long time to build that kind of human capital at a place and I'm excited about it.''

Tagged: Rutgers, Mohamed Sanu

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