Texas defensive lineman setting up visits

Hitchcock (Tex.) standout Michael Sam has narrowed down his list of favorites to two, possibly three schools. Which schools have emerged as his primary suitors and which schools appear to be out of the running? Sam talked to Devils Digest about his current recruitment picture.

Thus far, the 6-3 230 Michael Sam has visited just Iowa State and came away very impressed with Cyclones. However, when their head coach, Gene Chizik, bolted to Auburn to take the same position, Sam decided to drop them from consideration.

"I'm not even thinking about Iowa State," said Sam. "I haven't heard from them since the coaching change, and I don't want to build a new relationship with somebody. If the new coaches called me I'd say ‘thank you for the call, but I'm not interested."

Sam added that Oklahoma State stopped showing interest in him in recent weeks, after recruiting his heavily earlier in the season.

That leaves three schools which the defensive lineman is considering: Arizona State, Colorado State and TCU.

"I'm visiting Arizona State on January 16th," said Sam who's being recruited by linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Craig Bray. "I really like Arizona State because they have the major I want to study which is Sports Medicine. I know they didn't have a good year and that's gonna change. So I'm looking forward to going down there and see how the coaches are and that's what I'll base my decision on."

Sam indicated that Colorado State has offered him a scholarship, and that an offer is pending from TCU. "I'm gonna call the coaches there next week to see if they offer me," he said. "If they don't then it's between Colorado State and Arizona State.

"If TCU does offer me, then it's gonna be between TCU and Arizona State."

Sam plans to visit Colorado State on Jan. 9th and TCU on the 23rd.

The Sun Devil prospect played on both the offensive line and defensive line for the 2A Bulldogs, and noted that the schools recruiting him differ in their approach whether they want him to play defensive end or linebacker at the next level.

"Coach Bray is the linebackers coach and he said I could play both," commented Sam. "So wherever he wants me at that's where I'll play, just don't let me play quarterback. He left it open, but to be honest because he's the linebackers' coach I think he's looking at me more at linebacker. If they gave me the choice I'd probably say defensive end.

"I know for a fact, although it may change, that Colorado State wants me at defensive end. But TCU is also recruiting me as a linebacker or a defensive end."

Sam is quite aware of the fact that he will have to add 20-30 pounds to his frame if he will ultimately line up at defensive end and has no doubt that he can accomplish that feat.

"No problem – I'm hungry right now," he said laughing. "I'll put on some weight."

Hitchcock High School finished the 2008 campaign at 7-3 and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Stats from the Bulldogs' season weren't available, but Sam commented that in the weight room he benched a personal high of 270 lbs. and squatted 630.

"I'm gonna start power lifting here soon so I know I'll get stronger," said Sam. "I'm not gonna play basketball like I did last year, but I'm gonna do track again – I run the 100 and 200 meters. But now that I got a little bigger maybe the coach will have me doing something else."

He added that his fastest 40-yard time is a 4.65.

Sam earned first-team all-district honors at both defensive end and offensive tackle, as well as first-team all Houston area at defensive end.

"I'm a really good pass rusher and that's what got the coaches' attention," stated Sam. "But I know I can get better at that at the next level when the coaches will teach me new techniques and work with me on my stance."

When asked what he will base his college decision on, Sam replied with two primary factors.

"Coach Patterson has been a winner ever since he got there," he said. "Coach Erickson is a winner, he won two national titles, and the coach at Colorado State just won his bowl game. For me it's really gonna come down to who can coach me the best, and that's the school I'm gonna go to. "I'm also looking for a good environment. Arizona State is in the desert and Colorado State is in the mountains, so it will come down to where I will feel more comfortable."

Sam found out a few weeks back, after re-taking the SAT, that he scored a 1230, which along with his 3.1 GPA puts him in excellent position to qualify academically.

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