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Wednesday Round-Up: Boye Mafe Recognized as NFL Africa Changemaker For Breakout 2023 Season

ESPN’s Leonard Solms breaks down why Seahawks’ linebacker Boye Mafe continues to inspire potential African NFL players after setting Seahawks’ consecutive-games sack record in 2023.

02142024 round-up

Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Wednesday, February 14— about your Seattle Seahawks.

Seahawks outside linebacker Boye Mafe is recognized for setting the Seahawks franchise record of consecutive games with a sack.

In his second NFL season, Seattle outside linebacker Boye Mafe tripled his rookie total of 3.0 sacks with 9.0 in 2023. Leonard Solms of ESPN's Around the NFL highlights Mafe, whose parents are both from Nigeria, while also taking a look at a spike in talent from the continent of Africa.

The NFL currently rosters over 125 players of African-descent (born in Africa or first generation born in the U.S.). The league's International Pathway Program was founded in 2017, in efforts to spread the search for top-talent abroad in new ways. Highlighting the premier rising talent across the league currently from all corners of the continent of Africa has been key in expanding the game to places where soccer is the sport of choice for most.

Writing for ESPN, Solms takes a look back at the 2023 season by revisiting the top contributions from African stars across the league. Mafe was raised in Golden Valley, Minnesota, one of six children of Wale and Bola Mafe, who emigrated from Nigeria. The University of Minnesota alum was selected in the second round of the 2022 draft by Seattle, recording 41 tackles, 3.0 sacks and three tackles for loss. In his second season, Mafe saw a significant rise on the stat sheet, combining for 52 tackles, 9.0 sacks, nine tackles for loss, six passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. But it was Mafe’s seven-week stretch (Week 3-10) of recording a sack that set a new Seahawks franchise record. Solms breaks down why it was one of the best moments of the year for African NFL players.

As the Seattle Seahawks beat the Washington Commanders 29-26, Boye Mafe, whose parents moved to the United States from Nigeria, became the first player in franchise history to get sacks in seven games running.

Mafe hit Commanders QB Sam Howell to surpass the previous Seahawks record, set by Michael Sinclair (1997-98) - a remarkable achievement for the linebacker, who was only in his second NFL season.

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