Ahmed Hassanein: From No. 1 in CrossFit to No. 1 in the Mountain West

Photo by Tyler McFarland

This year, senior defensive end Ahmed Hassanein enters his fourth year playing for Boise State, but only his sixth year of his football career.

The now veteran player hails from Cairo, Egypt, moving to Anaheim, California in 2019. Before his move, Hassanein was a great CrossFit athlete, ranking No. 1 overall in Egypt in the sport.

His half-brother, Cory Besch, helped him move from Egypt to California, where he played at Loara High School. Besch, an English teacher and a coach at the school, helped coach Hassanein both in the classroom and on the football  field.

Now in 2024, the aspiring NFL talent and first team All-Mountain West defensive lineman has to follow up his historic 2023 season for the Broncos.


After two seasons playing defensive line in high school, Hassanein received his first offers from Northern Colorado, Fresno State University, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Just a month later he received offers from the University of Kansas and Duke, but didn’t hear anything from Boise State until Dec. 2, 2020.

Besch helped Hassanein make it to a scouting event where former Azusa Pacific University teammate, then Boise State defensive coordinator and now Bronco football head coach, Spencer Danielson, reached out and began the recruiting process.

Though the Broncos were a little late to Hassanein’s party, the then freshman bled blue from that moment forward, committing to Boise State 12 days later and signing on Dec. 16, 2020.

His development started immediately, but it wouldn’t be long before he saw his first bit of action in a game. 

As a true freshman in 2021, he appeared in nine games, making his debut at Utah State University in week four. Over the 2021 season, he recorded five tackles and one quarterback pressure.

His sophomore year he played in another nine games and had a three week stretch as a starter. He garnered his first career sack against University of Tennessee at Martin in week 3, and finished with two sacks and 12 tackles on the season.


2023 truly was Ahmed Hassanein’s ‘Jordan Year’.

“My goal is the NFL, my goal is to step into a role in the NFL,” Hassanein said before the 2023 season. “This year for me is huge because I want to prove to anybody that I can do it.”

The year started a bit slow for the junior lineman, only accumulating 1.5 sacks in the first four games.

He really flipped a switch during the loss against the University of Memphis as he notched another sack and a season high of six solo tackles.

This game marked the beginning of a sack streak that would continue all the way through the regular season.

He had a pair of highlight games in weeks 10 and 11, where he racked up two sacks against the University of New Mexico and another two against Utah State University, which marked the seventh straight week he’d take down a quarterback in the backfield. 

The Utah State game was perhaps his best performance since week four in Memphis, and it happened to be Spencer Danielson’s first week as interim head coach.

“It was a big focus for us, just creating pressure on the QB, just creating some hits on him and just taking him out early. Hopefully he’s okay,” Hassanein said after defeating Utah State. “It was a big emphasis for us to get after the QB so we can help our secondary out.”

This game also marks the first time a Bronco has eclipsed double digit sacks since fifth round pick, Curtis Weaver, did it back in 2019.

The following week, in a must win matchup against Air Force Hassanein notched another sack, marking the longest active streak in college football at the time with eight in a row.

The junior helped push a struggling defense through one of the most controversial periods in Boise State football’s history and into the Mountain West Conference Championship.

“Great things happen when you put your head down and just work,” Hassanein said after the MWC Championship victory.

On the year, Hassanein notched the sixth most sacks in the nation with 12.5 and accumulated 30 solo tackles and two forced fumbles.

Hassanein is one of the most electric players for the Broncos as of that date, and should be a highly anticipated player in the 2024 season.

“My whole family are back in Egypt,” Hassanein said in a 2023 interview. “This is all I have, this is my family, this is my everything.”


Hassanein’s senior season is set up to be one for the ages. He’ll have a tough time following up his 2023 performance, but if his goal is the NFL, he’ll have to.

The good news is that his old defensive line coach Erik Chinander has been promoted to defensive coordinator. That in combination with Danielson’s defensive mind should spell great success for Hassanein.

The Broncos have a history of producing great defensive lineman to the NFL. From Demarcus Lawrence to Scott Matlock, Ahmed Hassanein would be another in a long line of great NFL talents from Boise State.

With that said, Hassanein would make history as a potential NFL prospect, as he’d be the first Egyptian to go to the NFL.

Only time will tell however, as the 2024 season is still seven months away. One thing is for sure, Hassanein, along with the rest of the Boise State football team will be hungrier than ever this year.

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