Introducing the 2007 Class: Samson Szakacsy

Committing to USC is big news for a Southern California QB like Samson Szakacsy. De-committing from the Trojans becomes even bigger news, and even though ASU's incoming freshman has faced such adversity before, nothing could probably prepare him for what he was about to encounter.

"I've been through some tough situations, like when I transferred from St. Bonaventure to Camarillo after we won the championship. People bashed me for that big time," said the 6-4 200 Samson Szakacsy. "But after I decided to not go to USC and go to Arizona State it was really crazy."

"I was in my own city and I was going to a field to throw with a buddy of mine, and this 12-year old kid comes up to me and asks me if I'm Samson. When I said yes, he said ‘why aren't you going to USC? Arizona State sucks.' He gave me so much crap. He followed me from the parking lot all the way to the field and kept on bashing me and bashing me. I was trying to be cool, because I get bashed all the time. It's when people give me accolades that I get all messed up (laughs). I like to be the underdog."

While the Camarillo (Calif.) prefers to fly under the radar, he was simply too talented to do so. Illinois, Michigan, Purdue, Stanford and Miami were some of the schools pursuing him his junior year. He did ultimately pledged to USC a little over a year ago. ASU's quarterbacks coach Rich Olson recruited Szakacsy while he was at the University of Miami and that relationship was naturally key to his eventual signing with the Sun Devils.

When Olson joined the Sun Devil staff he contacted Szakacsy, and as it turns out his timing was impeccable. "I thought that Coach Carroll and Coach Sarkisian were gonna leave USC, and if that was gonna happen I was gonna definitely things over," Szakacsy recalled. "They were the coaches recruiting me and to me they were the USC program. So at that time when Coach Olson contacted me it was like meant to be. I didn't know for sure that I was gonna de-commit, but I felt that I should definitely listen to what he has to say."

Aside from ASU, Szakacsy stated that he never made an effort to contact any other schools when he was contemplating his future with the Trojans. "Arizona State coming into the mix was unexpected," he remarked. "Even when they did contact me I wasn't serious about de-committing. My first response to them when they contacted me was that I was still going to USC."

There was a point of time where Carroll and Sarkisian flat out stated to the Camarillo signal caller that they weren't leaving Los Angeles. However the relationship that was already built between Szakacsy and ASU's Olson was so strong that a trip to Tempe was already scheduled and Szakacsy was more serious than he had ever been at that point to de-commit in favor of the Sun Devils. "I asked Carroll if I could go on that trip and he said I should do it because I should be 100% about where I want to spend the next four years. He mentioned that Matthew Leinart, just like me, took a trip right before signing day…I think they were confident that I wasn't gonna leave USC."

Because he committed to USC in the summer between his junior and senior seasons, Szakacsy never took any official visits. Thus, his venture to Tempe was a novelty. "I loved everything about the trip – the school, the players, the environment…so when I went back home I knew I had a big decision to make. I talk to a lot of influential people, people affiliated with USC, and my family. It all came down to what I really wanted out of a college experience. It was tough, but I just felt in the end that Arizona State will be the better place for me." He added that he didn't burn any bridges with the Trojans when he informed the USC coaches of his decision and appreciated the class that those coaches displayed through out the whole recruiting process.

Szakacsy ranked as the No. 33 player overall in the west and the region's No. 5 quarterback by Prior to his junior year, he blew away those who attended's 2005 Los Angeles Combine. He recorded a 4.09 short shuttle time at, which was tied for the fastest among all players at the Los Angeles combine and was the second-fastest among all quarterbacks at the 12 combines held that year. He also registered the top vertical leap (31 inches) and broad jump (9-feet, 5-inches) measurements and had the second-fastest three-cone drill time among quarterbacks at the Los Angeles combine.

As a junior in 2005, Szakacsy broke an 18-year Ventura County record for completion percentage, connecting on 72.4 percent of his passes on the year (184-of-254), while collecting 2,038 yards and 24 touchdowns. When asked what he attributes his accuracy to, Szakacsy was hard-pressed coming up with a reply. "I don't think about it, I just throw," he claimed. "I was fortunate to play in a west coast offense with a lot of high percentage plays and I had some great receivers. It's not like I threw a lot of Hail Marys and all of them were completed." He added that he feels he should improve on all aspects of his game as he makes the transition to college.

Going into his senior campaign they were obviously high expectations on the Camarillo standout. That all changed with a broken left fibula Szakacsy suffered in the first game of that season. "The pocket collapsed on a play, I got hit and tried to spin out of a tackle, my cleat got stuck and it was real painful," he recalled. "I played the rest of the game, which was a mistake because it made things worse…I came back for the last couple games of the season. We won those and we made the playoffs, but we lost in the first round."

Even the sense of security he should have felt with his USC offer, couldn't help him overcome his great disappointment. "I was so focused on the season that I just wanted to play," said Szakacsy. "Yeah, it was nice to have that USC commitment in my back pocket when I got injured. They called me after the injury saying that they were gonna honor the commitment and that was a relief. But my mindset is always being competitive and wanting to be great. I really wanted to have a good senior year."

Being sidelined was hard to swallow at first, but later on he made the most of it. "After going through the bitter stage for the first couple of games, I realized I could still contribute," Szakacsy recalled. "I always watched a lot of film because I'm a student of the game. I was always in the chalk talk meetings with the coaches making suggestions. They liked my ideas and they wanted me to be up in the booth during games. That was a very good experience for me and it taught me a lot about the game. I'm happy I found the positive in a negative situation." He said in a previous interview that he was happy that the backup quarterback on his team got extra reps which helped him in his quest to get a college scholarship of his own.

Szakacsy isn't the only quarterback signee in ASU's 2007 class, as he's joined by fellow Southern California product Chasen Stangel. He's aware of the heightened competition that is about to take place in fall camp, since it's a virtual guarantee that only one of the two won't redshirt this year. "It's extra motivation, but I'm just worried about me," said Szakacsy. "I'm not thinking about beating Chasen, but just going out and do what I do. I don't shy away from competition and I'll compete with anybody. It makes you better as a player anyway when nothing is handed to you. I'll make the best of every opportunity and perform the way I perform. I'll work hard and things will happen the way they were meant to happen. I know the competition between Chasen and myself will make us both better players and be better for the team." ASU's freshman to-be is already academically qualified, and will join many other members of his recruiting class as the come to the school's bridge program in the first week of July.

Every time USC and ASU will meet in the few years, Samson Szakacsy name is certain to come up in the storylines leading up to the game. "It definitely fuels the fire in you," he admitted. "When you get to those last four reps of squats and you think about that 12-year old basing you…it's all extra motivation and that's my fuel."

Recruit Profile

Name Samson Szakacsy

High School Camarillo (Calif.)

Position QB

Height 6-4


Date of Birth8/12/88

Birthplace Los Angeles, Calif.

Nickname "Spiderman"

Favorite TV Show"Anything on ESPN"

Favorite Movie"Braveheart"

Favorite Singer"Lil Wayne"

Favorite Food"My dad's chicken fried steak"

Favorite Drink"Water"

Favorite Athlete'Whitney Lewis"

Favorite Pro Team"I don't really have one"

Person you most admire "My little sister. She's 12 years old. She's been through so much and I really admire her how she dealt with everything so maturely. I learned a lot from her."

First Football Memory"I was eight years old playing with a bunch of ten year olds. I played running back and I hated it. I was just laid out in a hitting drill and I wanted to quit. I remember my dad yelling at me to get back in there, and I got laid out again. But I guess in the end it's good that my dad told me to get back in."

One Thing most people don't know about me"I like quantum physics"

Why did you choose ASU? "I love the coaching staff and it's a great opportunity."

Where do you want to be in ten years? "Like everyone hopefully still playing in the NFL. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to be a youth counselor running football camps for underprivileged children."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories