First Posted at Inside The Shoe
From humble beginnings as an unheralded receiver from Toledo Central Catholic, Sanzenbacher made his way to Ohio State to try and make a name for himself. He came to Ohio State as an unknown who had to fight for everything he got, and what he got was being a 4 year starter, and a lot of love coming in all directions. The way he ended his career, by putting all that motivation into one great performance against Arkansas, was simply spectacular. Most Buckeye fans will remember the Great Dane for his excellent route running, superb hands, and always, always, being in the right place at the right time.
The way he played was 110% effort no matter the down, quarter, or game. You might hear of Ray Small or DeVier Posey dogging it a couple of plays, but they were the big time talents, right? I think more receivers should be like Sanzenbacher, who wasn't always the deep threat, even with his decent speed. No, he was more of a possession receiver that went for the extra yards, the receiver that wasn't afraid to go down the middle. The 5'10" Sanzenbacher reminded some people of Wes Welker, who is still a key receiving component for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Perhaps that is why when the 2011 NFL Draft was upon us, many saw Dane going in the later rounds, but certainly being an absolute steal for any team.
Sadly, that seemed not to be the case as Sanzenbacher went completely undrafted. After being voted Ohio State's 2010 Most Valuable Player and leading the Big Ten in touchdown catches (11), while grabbing 55 passes for 948 yards (second in the league, by 5 yards), and leading the North in the Senior Bowl with 5 catches for 62 yards, Dane went to the combine and had good numbers, and had a great workout there and then at the Ohio State Pro Day. He said no teams raised concerns about concussions that he suffered as a freshman and sophomore, and that he didn't miss a game his junior and senior years.
Through his career as a Buckeye, Dane has 115 receptions for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns. That's pretty good considering he wasn't a full on starter until his junior year. We already mentioned him being a team leader, and an outlet for Pryor when things weren't going well (Penn State, Arkansas games). With all this going on, you would think Sanzenbacher would stand a good chance in the draft.
So, why wasn't Dane Sanzenbacher chosen? Could it be that NFL owners were worried about previous OSU talent at the WR spot? Ted Ginn came to be only a kick returner, Robiskie wasn't stellar, and Hartline didn't raise too many eyebrows. Santonio Holmes is really the only one that has it going well for him, even after some rumbles in Pittsburgh. Was it the size? No, Wes Welker sits at 5'10" as well. I don't see any logical explanation. The Bengals and Browns were in need of some WR's late in this draft, yet passed him by. I have no explanation, I'll be honest. If I were any one of those GM's, and I saw the Manzenbacher sitting there in round 6, round 7, I would pick him up in a heartbeat. As of right now, Like every other undrafted player, Sanzenbacher is in limbo while the NFL's lockout is in place. Teams cannot contact or sign him.
He is back at OSU, finishing his degree in marketing, which he will earn in June. At some point, he will be in an NFL training camp, where he hopes to repeat the rise-from-obscurity story he lived over the past four years, and yet, he is not bitter.
"This may be a blessing in disguise," Sanzenbacher said. "I've never wanted to be average. And you look back on it, I guess it would be cool to (be drafted) in the middle rounds, but in a sense, it would be much cooler to come all the way from being a free agent. That might bring me more satisfaction."
Class act. What do you guys think about the situation?