Published on August 31, 2016 at 8:04 pm Contact Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org | @jmettus “He’s basically my little brother,” Sanu said. “I’ve always looked out for him. … To see him where he’s at today, I’m not surprised.”The pair first met when Strickland was about 7 or 8 years old and playing Pop Warner football. Sanu was a high school star who had just moved to the area, helping out with the practices and talking with the kids.Strickland was already hooked on football, but meeting Sanu was the “cherry on top.” Sanu noticed a talent in Strickland that stood out from the rest so he took him under his wing.,The next two years were spent with Strickland going to all of Sanu’s high school games, hearing Sanu’s name on the loudspeaker and imagining himself in the same spot.And as the duo got older, the closer they became.“Not the family everybody throws around, but truly family,” George said to describe their relationship. “And I mean took care of him.”Sanu would constantly pick Strickland up to workout and run routes. The NFL wide receiver still jokes with the college running back about switching positions.When Sanu was at Rutgers, he’d bring Strickland back to school with him to work out. Once Sanu reached the NFL, he hired a personal trainer. Then, he brought Jabbie and Strickland to the sessions with him. The trainer understood the situation. They were able to keep up.“I just always made sure I kept them around me so they weren’t around the wrong people,” Sanu said. “You have to have good influences around you so you don’t fall into the wrong crowd.,“I never wanted anything to happen to them as far as being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”Even when Sanu bought his first car after making it to the NFL — a Porsche Cayenne — he brought Strickland along.And when Strickland waited two or three days to go see Sanu the last time he was home, Sanu got upset, Strickland’s father, Bill, said.Before games, Sanu will tell Strickland: “Yo, Tae Beamer. Go hard.” Strickland called Sanu before a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns to say, “Yo, Mo. Go ball out. Time to ball out.”Strickland often reaches out to Sanu for advice. Sanu usually preaches extra work, humbleness and other requirements he has realized to make it to the NFL.,“I’ve been through what he’s going through now,” Sanu said. “… I know what it’s like so I’ve just been trying to help him get accustomed to what should he expect.”Strickland has come a long way from the slacking high school sophomore in need of a lecture, and his guiding influence has always been Sanu. Whether it be about college life or football or personal issues, Sanu is his go-to for advice.“It’s amazing just to have him by your side,” Strickland said, “always asking questions (such as) if you need any help about football or life skills. Anything.”“Just an awesome feeling seeing them grow up,” Sanu said. “I was there to help them through it.” Comments When Dontae Strickland’s grades were slipping, putting his future scholarship offers and football career in jeopardy, his football coach at South Brunswick High School knew just one man who could break through.Joe George, the coach, called up then-Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to visit during his bye week for a surprise meeting in the coach’s office with Strickland and Sanu’s nephew, Mohamed Jabbie, who had grade problems as well.Sanu wasn’t just serving as a professional football player to command respect from an aspiring professional athlete, or even just a former South Brunswick (New Jersey) football star to give advice to someone whose shoes he had been in several years earlier.He was, and is, practically family to Strickland. So he didn’t hold anything back.What followed was “a lot of yelling, screaming,” Strickland said. George couldn’t help but think he probably shouldn’t be in the room as Sanu got “down and dirty with them.” The 45-minute to an hour-long speech left them all in tears, Sanu said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe message was clear: You only play football once in your life. Don’t throw it away. No one cares how good you are if you don’t have the grades to go to college.“It was probably one of the best speeches that anyone has ever given me,” Strickland said, “and motivated me, probably still to this day, to give it my all no matter how bad I’m feeling or what’s going on.”Throughout Strickland’s football career and life, Sanu has served as a role model, mentor and source of tough love. He gave Strickland the nickname Tae Beamer because Strickland moves like a BMW, a nickname that’s stuck to this day.Strickland is entering his sophomore year and, despite seeing limited action as a hybrid in 2015, rose to the No. 1 running back spot in the spring. He was hurt for the latter part of training camp but still held the top running back spot on the Week 1 depth chart released Monday. Strickland said Tuesday he is “100 percent.” This is placeholder text Advertisement Facebook Twitter Google+ Dontae Strickland has developed a brotherly bond with NFL WR Mohamed Sanu Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.
The Wisconsin men’s tennis team finished off a flawless weekend at home by defeating the Northern Illinois Huskies 6-1, giving the Badgers, who now sit at 5-4, their first winning record since starting their season 2-0.After dropping its first conference match of the season to Minnesota last weekend, Wisconsin seems to have found its stride, surrendering only one point in its last two matches. The Badgers stole all three doubles matches to secure an early lead. Junior captain Billy Bertha and sophomore Fredrik Ask bounced back in their match after being broken early in their set, and after tying it up 6-6, the team dominated the tiebreaker with a few key volley winners, winning the match 9-8 (7-1).The victory ended the duo’s two-match losing streak, including an unexpected loss to an unranked UW-Green Bay team Saturday.“We were able to bounce back at one doubles,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “Whenever you’re a ranked team, everybody’s looking to take shots at you … guys are coming after you hard.”Wisconsin continued its success in singles play with sophomore Rod Carey finishing first by soundly beating Roman Turtygin at the No. 3 position (6-3, 6-3) giving him an even 4-4 singles record on the year.A pleasant surprise for Wisconsin was the play of freshman Andy Quirk over the weekend. A strong performance by the Scotsman put the Huskies in a difficult 0-3 hole, forcing them to win the remaining four singles matches to pull off the victory.Quirk also stepped in for sophomore Petr Satral after he was beleaguered by an ankle injury against UW-Green Bay, and the freshman was ecstatic to be given the chance to sneak into the gameday lineup.“I was a little nervous, but I really wanted to prove myself to the team, and I think I did that,” Quirk said. “Hopefully I get another chance to play.”His 6-2, 6-1 victory against UW-GB marks Quirk’s first win since January. In his two matches this season, he has lost a total of three games.Van Emburgh matched Quirk’s excitement with the prospect of a young player providing depth to the team.“I thought he did a great job today,” Van Emburgh said. “He’s the type of player where it’s going to be a nightmare for guys if he’s down low at the five or six position. He grinds guys down. He’s really tough, he’s really competitive … he’s confident he can beat anybody.”Bertha clinched the victory for the Badgers with a 6-4, 6-3 victory with the help of strong serving. Junior transfer Alexander Kostanov – who, after losing his first five singles efforts, has now won two consecutive matches – also won in straight sets with a 6-3, 6-4 finish in the No. 2 singles spot.Solid singles play continued with a three-set effort from Ask. Inconsistent groundstrokes plagued the Oslo, Norway, native in the first set, but he was able to trigger a comeback, winning the next two sets by identical scores of 6-1, 6-1.Ask earned the only Badger win against the Gophers last weekend on the road, and was able to use his opponent’s frustration to his advantage as the match progressed.“I wasn’t feeling too great, but then I started feeling the ball a little better, and I also saw that he was getting tired because the rallies were quite long,” Ask said.He also made a key observation about the strength of his opponent that enabled him to reconsider his game plan.“I started to hit my backhand a little bit more crosscourt down to his one-hander,” Ask said. “And then I had some more openings with my forehand after, because I was playing too much down the line with my backhand to his forehand, because his forehand was quite good.”The weekend wins have put Wisconsin in a solid position heading into the final portion of the non-conference schedule. The Badgers travel to California March 10 to contend with the No. 16 Fresno State Bulldogs, where Wisconsin looks to pick up its first road win of the season.Van Emburgh thinks his team has a decent shot at earning its first road victory, despite the sizable challenge of taking down a top-25 squad on the road. “I think the guys have gained a lot of momentum, and should feel really confident on where we are right now in our season,” Van Embugh said. “I think we’re starting to peak at the right time.”
For those of us who are part of the electorate — this is my fourth vote — the confirmation emails went out Nov. 12. To be eligible to vote, BBWAA members have to be an active member for at least 10 consecutive years, with a 10-year grace period for writers no longer active. Previous voting members more than 10 years away from active status can apply for a vote based on their baseball coverage in the most recent season.MORE: Hall of Fame ceremony deserves stage by itselfHere’s part of that email. Based on your qualifications, you have been approved to vote in the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame BBWAA election. Your 2020 ballot will be sent from Cooperstown on Monday, November 18 to the mailing address you provided through the voting registration process. You must complete, sign and return your ballot in the envelope provided. Your ballot must be postmarked no later than December 31 in order for your selections to be included in the 2020 results.You will have the opportunity to vote for zero to 10 candidates. Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent or more of ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 26, 2020.It has always been, and always will be exciting to receive that email. So let’s take a look at the players on this year’s ballot, which was officially released at noon ET on Monday. We’ll start with the newcomers. Derek Jeter will be elected, without question, but he’s the only newbie likely to be a part of the class of 2020. After Jeter, guys like Bobby Abreu, Cliff Lee, Jason Giambi present interesting, but complicated cases. All are worth a few years of conversation, at least. From there, players who could receive a few votes but aren’t likely to meet the 5 percent minimum required to stay on the ballot: Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, Josh Beckett, Brian Roberts and Eric Chávez. Also on this year’s ballot, outstanding players who don’t have a realistic shot at winding up in Cooperstown but deserve mention: Heath Bell, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Raúl Ibañez, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz and José Valverde.Here are the bios for all the new players on the Baseball Hall of Fame website. The Post Office for the Village of Cooperstown is across the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — literally, maybe two dozen steps — and this particular Monday is a special day. The 2020 Hall of Fame ballots are being mailed from the 40 Main Street building today, sent out across the country to BBWAA writers who have the honor and responsibility of voting for the players who will make up the class of 2020. And now, a quick look at the holdovers. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are all in their eighth year on the ballot — each player gets 10, remember — and each received between 59.1 and 60.9 percent of last year’s vote. All three have Cooperstown-worthy numbers, but all three have likely been held back because of the vague character clause on the ballot. This is Larry Walker’s 10th year on the ballot, and he’s made great strides, up to 54.6 percent of last year’s vote. With the ballot-clearing of recent years — 11 players elected the past three years — Walker stands a legitimate chance of being elected this winter. And here are the other returning players, with their 2019 percentage of the vote and how many times they’ve been on the ballot: Omar Vizquel (42.8 percent, third year on the ballot), Manny Ramirez (22.8, fourth), Jeff Kent (18.1, seventh), Scott Rolen (17.2, third), Billy Wagner (16.7, fifth), Todd Helton (16.5, second), Gary Sheffield (13.6, sixth), Andy Pettitte (9.9, second), Sammy Sosa (8.5, eighth), Andruw Jones (7.5, third).