VIDEO — From SMU to the Super Bowl: Emmanuel Sanders

February 1, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Video by Fernando Valdes

Emmanuel Sanders Interview from on Vimeo.

By Kimmy Ryan

Click here to seeThe Daily Mustang’s coverage of Super Bowl Media Day

Emmanuel Sanders spent his college career helping turn around the SMU football program, culminating in an incredible victory at the Hawaii Bowl. Now, almost a year later, Sanders’ rookie year in the NFL is finishing on another high note, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45.

Sanders was surrounded by reporters during Media Day at the Cowboys stadium Tuesday. The press was curious about everything from June Jones’ coaching style, to practicing at TCU this next week, to what life as a Steeler is like. All in all though, Sanders said, “It’s just good to be back in Dallas.”

Although Sanders is glad to be back home, practicing at TCU’s stadium will be a change. Sanders said he just might have to “punch a horned frog or two while he’s there.”

Sanders seemed most excited about getting out there and playing hard Steeler Football on Sunday.

Steeler Football is “hard core, smash mouth football,” Sanders said. “Every play you’re trying to knock some guy’s knees out, and we actually get awarded if we do it.”

Toward the second half of the season, Sanders received sufficient amounts of playing time as a receiver and on kickoffs, and proved himself by knocking out a few knees of his own. But, the transition to the big leagues has not been without bumps.

“He came in, and he was real hard headed. He didn’t want to listen,” said fellow teammate Arnaz Battle. “But, as the season went on, he developed into a nice rookie on and off the field. We appreciate having him. He’s a great player, and his future is very bright.”

Whether adjusting to NFL life or not, Sanders’ feelings about his new profession have stayed the same.

“Sometimes I wake up and pinch myself. Am I really in the National Football League coming from a small school, Southern Methodist University? I’m just trying to make the most of it.”

He described the biggest difference between SMU and the NFL as the crowd. But instead of getting more nervous in front of huge crowds, he gets more excited and is ready to perform even more.

Sanders credits his preparedness to SMU Coach June Jones.

“It’s a blessing,” Sanders said about having Jones in his life.

With the help of Coach Jones, Sanders accomplished a lot his senior year at SMU. As captain, he led the team to a bowl game, caught over 100 balls, went over a thousand yards and was drafted to the NFL in the third round.

“Thanks to Coach Jones,” Sanders said. “If it wasn’t for him, I honestly wouldn’t have been drafted that high. He brought in a great offense and passed on a lot of knowledge to me, so kudos to him.”

Sanders will not only be the pride of the Mustangs on Super Bowl Sunday, but he is also a role model for many.

Joshua Harvey, a reporter at Media Day, said that young players are coming to SMU saying, “I’m going to be the next Emmanuel Sanders.”

It was evident that Sanders was truly touched by the reactions he has gotten from his friends and fans.

With such great support, this week Sanders will be focused on only one thing, Sunday’s game. And with all the hype, Sanders hopes to revert to what he does best.

“When I’m out there with Ben Roethlisberger, it’s like I’m a ten-year-old kid again playing throw-and-catch backyard football.”

REVISIT: Catch 17 with Emmanuel Sanders – Episode 9

April 24, 2010 by · Comments Off 

“Catch 17? is a weekly radio program hosted by Alan H. Rose featuring SMU Wide Receiver Emmanuel Sanders as he chronicles life throughout this year’s football season.

Sanders is in his senior year and final football season. He leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns caught. Sanders is expected by many college football analysts to be drafted in the spring’s NFL Draft.

Dreams Become Reality: SMU’s Sanders Drafted To NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers

April 24, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

By Robby Gillespie

SMU senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was taken in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday night.

Sanders was the 82nd overall pick and the 18th in the third round, the highest pick for an SMU player since 1987. Sanders was the sixth wide receiver taken in the draft. He was taken off the board two picks before consecutive University of Texas picks Jordan Shipley and Colt McCoy.

Sanders was named an Honorable Mention All-American by and a first-team All-Conference USA performer in 2009. He ranks as SMU’s all-time leader in career catches, TD catches and yards, single-season and single-game receptions and single-season yardage.

Sanders finished 2009 with a team high 98 receptions for 1,339 yards and 7 touchdowns. In his final collegiate game, Sanders had seven catches for 124 yards and a score in helping SMU to a 45-10 win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

For more on Sanders’ selection, check out senior journalism major Kristin Kimball’s blog and audio report from Sanders’ draft party.

Sports Blog: Friends, Family Celebrate Sanders’ Selection by Steelers

April 23, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

Emmanuel Sanders takes a phone call Friday night during his draft party. He was selected in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. (PHOTO BY KRISTIN KIMBALL / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Emmanuel Sanders takes a phone call Friday night during his draft party. He was selected in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. (PHOTO BY KRISTIN KIMBALL / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Posted by Kristin Kimball

If the Super Bowl is my Christmas, then NFL draft day is my Easter. And while those who know me are aware that I live and die by the San Diego Chargers, it was another team who had me jumping for joy tonight. With the 18th pick of the third round, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Emmanuel Sanders, a wide receiver from SMU.

“It feels so good,” he said. “I got all my loved ones around me right now and it’s one of the biggest days of my life. Ever since I was 6 years old, I have dreamed of being an NFL player, and it’s finally come true. I can honestly say I’m a Pittsburgh Steeler now.”

Sharing in my excitement were Emmanuel’s family, friends, former coaches, and former teammates. Huddled together in the AMPM Restaurant and Lounge, Emmanuel’s posse impatiently waited for their turn to erupt. And when the time came, that’s exactly what they did.

“It’s not about where you come from, it’s about where you are headed and where you are going to go,” said Emmanuel’s mother, Stephanie Sanders. “I was nervous. My son has been working hard since he was little. This has been his dream since he was 8 years old. And now my baby is living his dream.”

Sanders finished his college career as SMU’s career leader in receptions, touchdown catches and yards. In his final game, Sanders had seven catches for 124 yards and a touchdown helping SMU to a 45-10 win over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Kristin Kimball is a senior Journalism major working in the Athletics Department.

VIDEO: Extra Point — Filling the Gaps

April 16, 2010 by · Comments Off 

SMU Daily Mustang’s Robby Gillespie and Chris Dell go in depth about the important position changes taking place on the SMU football team, including discussion about the open spots left by key players.

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Spring Football: WR Sanders Leaves Big Shoes To Fill For Mustangs

April 11, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie

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VIDEO: Extra Point — Spring Football Practice Update

April 9, 2010 by · Comments Off 

SMU Daily Mustang’s Robby Gillespie and Alan Rose break down the position questions that need to be answered this spring. The Mustangs lose several defensive stars and a key wide receiver and running back.

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Making Waves: 2009 Offensive Picks

December 22, 2009 by · Comments Off 

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Two Mustangs Earn C-USA First Team Honors

December 8, 2009 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie

SMU seniors Emmanuel Sanders and Chase Kennemer were named to the First Team All-Conference USA for the 2009 season. Sanders also earned the honor as a punt returner.

Sanders caught 91 passes for 1,215 yards, a single season SMU record. As a punt returner, he led the C-USA with a 15.4 yards per return average. Kennemer earned 126 tackles to lead the Mustangs and place himself second in the conference and 13th nationally.

Ten Mustangs earned C-USA honorable mentions.

SMU’s starting quarterback, Kyle Padron, who took over when Bo Levi Mitchell went down with an injury at Houston, was named to the C-USA All-Freshmen Team. Padron led the Mustangs to a 4-1 record as a starter and their first bowl appearance in 25 years.

Wide receiver Darius Johnson and defensive back Taylor Reed also were named to the All-Freshmen team. Johnson played in four games catching ten passes 107 yards and a touchdown. Reed was fifth on the team with 56 tackles and pulled down an interception to seal a victory at UAB early in the season.

SMU was second only to Houston and Tulsa, who had four players on the C-USA All-Freshmen list.

The Mustangs began practicing Monday for their Dec. 24 match up against Nevada in Honolulu for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which will be televised on ESPN.

Fans and SMU Athletics React To Bowl Bid

December 2, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Elisabeth Brubaker

“We have proven there is life after death,” SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini announced Tuesday.

Fans filled the Hughes Trigg Commons Tuesday afternoon as Orsini formally accepted an invitation to play in the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

SMU Senior Liz Sullivan said she’s really excited to see the change in the football team.

“It’s clear in the upcoming years SMU is going to be very successful,” Sullivan said.

While many students like Sullivan won’t be able to afford the flight to Hawaii over the Christmas holiday, SMU Senior and Rower Liz Langdon is making the trip.

“It’ll be an unforgettable experience,” Langdon said. She is glad she can be there to support the team.

Langdon has been a big fan of SMU athletics, specifically the football team, since she joined the SMU community as a junior. One of her family members works for American Airlines so she is fortunate to make the trip to watch both the football team and the basketball teams play (the basketball team will be competing in a tournament over the holiday in Honolulu.)

While many people are excited to watch the game, whether on ESPN or in person, the football team has other ideas of what they are excited about.

“Going to Pearl Harbor [gave us] the motivation to win,” SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.

Former special teams coach Frank Gansz will be honored when the team goes to Pearl Harbor during their trip. Gansz played and coached at the Naval Academy during his long career. He passed away April 27, 2009 after suffering complications from knee surgery. He was 70 years old.

While the team is coming full circle to celebrate the life of Gansz, they are focused on the game. Wide receiver A’darius Medford plans to win.

“Jones is loose, we’re more comfortable, we’re playing our game,” Medford said. They are just excited they are going to a bowl game, he said.

Orsini stressed how excited he was for the whole university.

“Everyone suffered the last 25 years. [The alums] paid the price as well and are finally starting to get some return on their investment,” Orsini said.

Even Vice-President of Student Affairs Dr. Lori S. White will make the trip. White came to SMU three years ago from football dynasty USC. White is used to her team going to a bowl so to see the outpouring of spirit has been great.

White said, “They’ve worked so hard. I wouldn’t miss it!”

Defensive back Tim Crosby is ready to win and knows the team has to go out there and have fun.

Crosby said, “It’s nothing but us.”

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