May 26, 1999
Berkeley - Cal outside linebacker Sekou Sanyika has been selected as a first team pre-season All-America player by the Sporting News.
The 6-4, 240-pound senior, who led the Pacific-10 with 23 tackles behind the line of scrimmage last season, is also being projected as the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year by The Sporting News.
He is a mainstay on a Cal defense that figures to be one of the premier units in college football this fall. During his first three years with the Golden Bears, he has accumulated 45 tackles for loss and figures to set the school record in that category this season. That mark is currently held by Jerrott Willard who had 54 tackles behind the line of scrimmage from 1991 to '94.
Sanyika's selection to a first team All-America squad may be first of several national honors leading up to the start of the 1999 campaign on Sept. 5 against Rutgers.
The Sporting News senior college football analyst Tom Dienhart indicated that Sanyika's play-making ability was a key reason for his inclusion on the All-America team. "Sanyika is a difference maker," said Dienhart. "When you combine his size with his ability to make plays on the perimeter, that's what really attracts the attention of the NFL teams.
"Also, with Cal's front seven featuring guys like Andre Carter, Jerry DeLoach and Matt Beck, you can't avoid all of those guys, so Sanyika will get his chance to keep making plays. We think he has a chance for a big year." Dienhart also announced that Cal's linebacker group is rated the No. 2 unit in college football behind only Penn State while Bears defensive line is ranked No. 9 nationally.