Mark Sanchez, born November 11, 1986 in Long Beach, California, is an American football quarterback for the New York Jets of the National Football League.
Born in America, Sanchez never thought much about being Mexican, except when he ate enchiladas at family barbecues and dined on tamales at Christmas. His father, Nick, had grown up in a black neighborhood. His mother, Olga, had been one of the few Mexican-Americans in a mostly Jewish part of East LA.
After much success in football, Sanchez found himself thrust into the spotlight as a symbol of Mexican-American identity and a role model for children.
Sanchez was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft (fifth player overall, and the second quarterback overall) by the New York Jets. He played college football for the University of Southern California (USC). He is a rookie and started his first National Football League game with the New York Jets on Sunday, September 13, 2009.
During his high school years, Sanchez was already playing as a quarterback and was named football player of the year by several major college recruiting services and was considered the top quarterback in the nation coming out of high school in 2005.
In his single season as the starting quarterback, Sanchez led the Trojans to a 12–1 season and No. 2 ranking in the Coaches Poll and No. 3 in the AP Poll, while capturing the 2009 Rose Bowl Offensive Most Valuable Player award.
In 2009, Sanchez entered the NFL Draft and was selected 5th overall by the Jets in the 2009 NFL Draft, making him the first quarterback selected by the Jets. In order to select Sanchez, the Jets made the biggest draft-day trade in their history to move up to the fifth selection. The pick was lauded at the time it was made as a good value for team and player.
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