Boise State football's recruit Ahmed Hassanein's journey from Egypt to Boise, "I didn't know anything about football"

Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 12:54:14-05

BOISE — Ahmed Hassanein is one of the 15 recruits that signed their National Letter of Intent to play football at Boise State during the early signing period. But his journey to get here was far from easy.

“I am so blessed and so grateful. It has really been awesome for the opportunity to go to Boise State,” said Hassanein.

If you had asked him two and half years ago if he would be playing college football, his answer would have been, "no."

“I left when I was six to Egypt and lived there for ten years," he said. "I lived there most of my life. I lived with my dad.”

Then everything changed in 2018 when Ahmed's older brother Cory Besch visited Egypt.

“My family was just letting me know some of the struggles he was having and that they were thinking about sending him back to America to get him out of the environment, and I just felt a real call in my heart.”

Besch is a high school football coach at Loara High School. He decided to stay in California when the rest of his family moved back to Egypt.

After learning about Ahmed's situation, Besch convinced their father to move Ahmed back to the U.S.

“I accepted that responsibility and offer to my dad to send him back to live with me, and he can go to school in Loara and play football for me and help mentor him and get him out of that environment," said Besch. "Surprisingly, my dad said yes, and it was crazy.”

"He was like, why don’t you come to play football for me and go to school and live with me? I was like, 'OK, let's do it.'”

Within one month, Ahmed was in California, but the problem was he didn't know English.

“I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t understand what they are saying to me,” said Hassanein.

He also didn't know anything about the game of football.

"I was like grabbing people's face masks and just throwing people and just getting a ton of penalties like it was bad, haha,” he said.

With the help of Cory mentoring him and with hard work, step by step, he picked up the game and started excelling in school.

“The rest is history, and I started getting D1 offers and started getting more exposure and more known, and I was like it’s happening,” said Hassanein.

“I knew he had the potential. I never dreamed well, I did dream that this could happen, but I never really thought that it was a reality, and the way that everything has kind of played out has been a blessing,” said Besch.

"This guy is going to be very good for us, and we like that he is a little bit raw," said Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin. "We love his attitude and his whole entire mental approach to what he knows he has to do to get better, and he is going to add to that defensive line that we feel strongly about.”

Within two years, Ahmed learned English, the game of football, and received five Division I offers, but he knew Boise State was the place for him.

“It means a lot to me; it means a lot to my brother; it means a lot to my family," said Hassanein. "My family is still in shock. They are like, how did you do that? Like is this Ahmed? It is just a blessing, and I am just so grateful for it."