HIGH SCHOOL HONORS
Sanders earned first team all-state honors as a senior and third team recognition as a junior at Cathedral Prep in Erie, Pennsylvania. He was selected first team all-conference as a junior and senior. During his senior year, Sanders rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns as a running back, helping team post 13-1 record and advance to state championship game. He was also named team captain. On February 23, 2007, Bobs #20 Cathedral Prep jersey was retired and it was declared "Bob Sanders Day."
Sanders attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa from 2000-2003. In 2000, his first season with the Hawkeyes, Sanders saw extensive action on special teams and started in the secondary the four remaining games of the season. During his first start, he recorded 11 solo tackles and forced one fumble. In 2001, Sanders started all 11 games he played at strong safety and led the team with 122 total tackles, including 78 solo stops and 44 assists. He ranked fifth in the Big Ten in interceptions (4), sixth in the Big Ten in tackles per game (11.1), 27th in the nation in solo tackles per game (6.9) and 30th nationally in total tackles per game for the regular season. Sanders had a record-setting game in Iowa’s win over Indiana with 14 solo tackles and 11 assists. During the Alamo Bowl win over Texas Tech, he had an interception in the Iowa endzone on the final play of the game to secure the victory. In 2002, Sanders was a key member of the Iowa defense that ranked fifth in the nation in rushing defense. He led the team with 13 tackles vs. Southern Cal in Orange Bowl, including nine solo tackles and four assists. He also recorded two pass break-ups. Throughout the 2003 season, Sanders recorded first career touchdown in a win over Illinois, returning fumble recovery three yards for a score. He collected a season-high 16 tackles (10 solo, six assists) in Iowa’s win over Minnesota which earned him Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. Sanders also recorded three solo tackles in a 37-17 Outback Bowl win over Florida during his senior season.
- In 2003, Sanders was named first team pre-season all-America by The Sporting News
- He was named to the pre-season watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player
- Also in the 2003 pre-season, Sanders made the watch list for Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Year
- He was selected as a pre-season third team all-American by Athlon Sports
- Following the 2003 regular season, Sanders was selected as second team all-America by the Associated Press and first team all-Big Ten
- Bob became a permanent Defensive Team Captain, won Most Valuable Player (defense), the Hayden Fry "Extra Heartbeat" Award (defense) and Coaches Appreciation Award (special teams)
- He was a co-Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his play in 40-22 win over Minnesota
- Sanders was also selected to participate in the Senior Bowl, but did not play in the game after suffering a foot injury in practice before the contest
- In 2002, Sanders was named fourth team All-America by The Sporting News and first team all-Big Ten
- He also won the Hustle Team Award (defense) in 2002
- Sanders was named Co-Most Valuable Player, first team all-Big Ten by league coaches and earned team Hustle Award for his defensive play
- In his first season, Sanders was named a 2000 honorable mention all-Big Ten
Bob Sanders was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2nd round (44th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. In 2004, he started four of six appearances in his rookie season which was shortened by foot and knee injuries. A second-year player in 2005, Sanders started his first 14 games and earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s top hitters at the Free Safety position, recording 118 tackles, 71 solo, four passes deflected, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one interception. He earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time and became the Club’s first Defensive Back to make the Pro Bowl since 1971. Sanders’ tackle total ranked 2nd on club with multiple stops in every outing and double-digit tackles in five games. He had a career-best 20 tackles, 12 solo, against San Diego. In 2006, Sanders started four games at Free Safety and had 30 tackles, 20 solo, one forced fumble, one interception and one pass deflection while dealing with a knee injury throughout season. Following the 2006 post-season, he started four games and had 22 tackles, 17 solo, one forced fumble, 2-55 interceptions and four passes deflected. In Super Bowl XLI, Sanders had three stops, one forced fumble, 1-38 interception and one pass deflected in the win over Chicago. Sanders experienced his finest season of his four-year career in 2007 with 132 total tackles, 74 solo, 3.5 sacks, 2-32 interceptions and six passes defensed, all career-highs. His tackle total led the Colts and tied him for 2nd on the Club in sacks. Sanders had five double-digit tackle games and eight-plus tackles 12 times. He totaled the first sacks of his career and was named AFC Defensive Player-of-the-Week. Thus far in 2008, he has appeared in 4 games with 3 starts at Strong Safety and 1 start at Free Safety. Sanders recorded 10 tackles, six solo against Chicago, five tackles, four solo, at Minnesota, 13 tackles and one interception vs. New England and had seven tackles, five solo, and one pass defensed at Pittsburgh.
- Sanders earned Pro Bowl honors for the second time of his career and became the first Colts player to be named the 2007 Associated Press NFL Defensive Player-of-the-Year
- In 2007 he was also named to the first-team AP NFL All-Pro, Sports Illustrated NFL All-Pro Team, PFW/PFWA All-NFL Team, PFW/PFWA All-AFC Team, and was PFW/PFWA NFL Defensive Most Valuable Player as well as Kansas City Committee of 101 AFC Defensive Player-of-the-Year
- Sanders was a 2005 Pro Bowl Starter, Associated Press NFL All-Pro First-Team and PFW/PFWA All-AFC