BYU gets 2013 kicker commitment

Over spring camp many Cougar fans wondered how the special teams would play out given the graduation of punter Riley Stephenson, and given kicker Justin Sorensen's level of performance still in question. On Sunday the Cougar coaching staff received a verbal commitment from a former record-setting kicker from Clovis West High School in Fresno.

Coming in at 5 feet 11 inches and 185 pounds, Trevor Samson has had quite the football career as a kicking specialist, and now he's the Cougars' future kicker.

"I committed to BYU, I believe, early Sunday morning and sent them an email saying that I was going to decide to choose them as a school. I said I was going to call them because I knew they couldn't call me because of the rules," said Samson. "I called them and officially committed and let them know. It was definitely a cool experience."

"He has an extremely strong leg and made some very important kicks for us last year," said Fresno City College head coach Tony Caviglia. "He really helped our team out a lot and performed well in every way."

The recruiting interest from BYU came quick and fast. It didn't take long before BYU expressed interest and wanted Samson to come out for an official visit to BYU.

"It was definitely a big surprise to me," said Samson. "I was just at my house and I got an email from my coach from Fresno and said that a BYU coach wanted to take a look at me. He said they were very interested, and so I said, ‘Well, what the heck! I'll take a closer look into this.' So I called up the coach. They said they wanted to see me kick and wanted me to come out for an official visit.

"I ended up coming out to BYU for an official visit last week and I loved the school. Everything just kind of came out of the blue. I was impressed with the academic standards of BYU, which I had no clue about. I thought it was very cool for me to know that football-wise and academically, my future was looking really good. I was very intrigued by the team and, obviously, I'm a new fan of BYU! I never really followed BYU until I started getting recruited by them. I'm just now learning more and getting use to everyone and the atmosphere. It was definitely a great experience and I'm definitely looking forward to playing football at BYU."

Coach Caviglia thinks his young kicker has a bright future with his golden leg.

"I don't think he's even scratched the surface of how good he can be," Coach Caviglia said. "He has a lot of potential that I think can still be tapped into. His accuracy is something he's going to work on, but in the sense of accuracy he was very good at. I know he's committed to working on that to further develop that potential. He never missed any kicks we had to have to win games."

"I've always viewed myself as a football player and not just a kicker," said Samson. "I don't like just being called a kicker and have never really viewed myself as a kicker. I've always tried to work as hard as I can to earn the respect of my teammates and coaches. I want to be a big part of the program and pride myself on contributing as best I can to be more than just a kicker, but a major factor on the team. I want to show people what kickers can be, and I try to get everyone excited about what we can do to help win football games. That's what I want to do and that's what I plan on doing at BYU."

Samson excelled at kickoffs at Fresno City College, and will be asked to do the same at BYU.

"I love doing kickoffs," said Samson. "I started doing kickoffs my sophomore year in high school when I found out that you could get a scholarship doing that. I worked really hard in the weight room and just kept playing in high school and at the junior college level. Now I'm definitely going to take advantage of this new situation to continue my kicking career at BYU. This is a great opportunity for me."

"His kicking ability really helped our defense because he would either kick the ball out of the end zone, or he would put it high on the goal line where the special teams coverage could get down there and cover," said Coach Caviglia. "He always gave offenses a longer field to work with. Then on top of that he's just a great quality kid."

A 2013 prospect, Samson will graduate this Thursday with an associate's degree. While he has committed to BYU, he will join the program as a preferred walk-on prospect.

"I haven't signed anything with BYU, but I did commit to play for them," said Samson. "I don't think I'm able to sign anything with them yet because they don't have anything available at this time.

"I'll be coming to BYU as a walk-on, I believe, but if I win the starting spot I'll then win a scholarship offer somehow. That's what they told me and it's really exciting. They put it on my shoulders, and so I'm up for the challenge. They believe I have what it takes to win the spot and that's why they recruited me. They believe I have the ability to win the spot and receive the scholarship. They're still trying to figure out all the kinks of what's going on."

Samson will join his new team next month.

"I think they want me there in Provo on June 24th," said Samson. "I plan on heading up there a little sooner than that to get moved in and all that stuff. I'm ready to head up there and compete for that scholarship. I'm really excited right now. I know BYU is a very respected program that plays on national television for people not only in the country but around the world. Not a lot of people get to enjoy a privilege like this."

Samson's Kicking Accolades

Clovis West Special Teams Player of the Week vs. Del Oro (Sept 11, 2010)

Set a school record for the most touchbacks in a single game with eight vs. Bullard (Sept 30, 2010)

Fresno Bee: Player In The Spotlight (Oct 14, 2010)

Set a school record for most touchbacks in a career (Oct 29, 2010)

Special teams Player of the Week vs. Central (Nov 5, 2010)

Set a school record for most touchbacks in a season (Nov 12, 2010)

Selected 1st Team All-Conference - Tri River Athletic Conference (Dec 9, 2010)

Selected 1st Team All Valley People's Choice - The Football Factory Group CentralValleyFootball.com (Jan 1, 2011)

Most Valuable Special Teams Player of the Year - Clovis West Awards Banquet (Jan 6, 2011)

Scholar Athlete - Clovis West Awards Banquet (Jan 6 2011)

Selected 1st Team All Valley - Central California (Jan 13, 2011)

Selected 1st Team - ESPN 1430 PagMeter All Star Team (Jan 14, 2011)

Finished 5th Nationally (per MaxPreps - Kickoff Leaders)

Finished 1st in California (per MaxPreps - Kickoff Leaders)

Selected 1st Team - Fresno Bee All Star Team (Jan 23, 2011)

Selected as City Kicker - Fresno City/County All Star Game (Feb 2, 2011)

Selected as an all-conference kicker in central valley for city colleges


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