- Former Rose Bowl MVP, First Round NFL Draft Pick Joins ABC’s Studio Team
- Jonathan Vilma Returns as Analyst to Team with Sanchez; Kevin Negandhi Anchors for Third Season
ESPN has signed former Southern California quarterback and Rose Bowl Game MVP Mark Sanchez to a multi-year deal as the California native shifts from the field to an analyst role. Sanchez will be in studio each college football Saturday for ABC, appearing throughout the network’s tripleheaders – noon ET, 3:30 p.m. and Saturday Night Football (7:30 p.m.). The former first round NFL Draft pick will contribute to other ESPN shows, including College Football Live and Get Up! throughout the season.
“Mark will be making an immediate transition from the field to the studio, allowing him to provide viewers a perspective that is in-concert with the current game,” said ESPN senior vice president of production Lee Fitting. “Succeeding within a high-pressure media market at USC, and then in the NFL, provided on-the-job training for the next chapter of Mark’s career, which we are thrilled will be with us at ESPN. That media experience, combined with his on the field success – playing in-and-winning numerous high profile matchups including the 2009 Rose Bowl Game, adding to USC’s rich quarterback heritage, and leading an NFL team to multiple Conference Championships– is a recipe for success as an analyst.”
Sanchez concluded his college football career (2005-2008) leading the Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory in his junior season and capping a 13-win campaign, which placed the Pac-12 team third in the final AP Top 25 Poll. In the New Year’s Day victory, Sanchez threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns — the final chapter of his USC playing days where the California native amassed nearly 4,000 yards passing and finished with 41 touchdowns. The following spring, Sanchez was the fifth overall pick in NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He played ten seasons in the NFL, including starting two AFC Championship games.
Jonathan Vilma and Kevin Negandhi Return to ABC Studio
Sanchez’s new teammates will be fellow analyst Jonathan Vilma and anchor Kevin Negandhi, as both return to ABC’s studio coverage this season. Vilma began with ESPN in 2016, a short time after retiring from a prolific playing career. The former Miami Hurricane first-team All-American quickly increased his profile as an analyst, appearing on multiple shows and platforms, including studio work each Saturday on ESPN2 prior to his shift to ABC.
Negandhi began anchoring ABC’s college football studio coverage in 2017, adding to an impressive anchoring résumé, which includes the Special Olympic World Games, the Women’s Final Four, and much more. Now, in addition to his college football work, the Temple alum co-anchors the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter with Sage Steele.
Sanchez fills the role vacated by Mack Brown, who left ESPN to resume his head coaching career at the University of North Carolina after last season.