Sampson a Hot Commodity for Utah Schools

It's no secret that with four graduating defensive backs at the end of this coming season, BYU is looking to shore up its ranks in the secondary for the coming recruiting year. Most of the attention has been spent scouring the junior college ranks, where the coaches have recently found a player in Joe Sampson who has some social ties to the program.

Joe Sampson is a 6-foot, 203-pound defensive back prospect from San Mateo Junior College. Before going to San Mateo, he played for Skyline High School in Oakland, California. While growing up in Oakland, Sampson's closest friend was current BYU cornerback Brian Logan.

"Me and Brian have known each other since we were five years old, and I'd say that we're more like brothers than friends," related Sampson. "We did everything together growing up. We played football with each other all the time and helped each other get as good as we could."

Logan in no doubt reached a lot of his potential already in starring for the Cougar secondary during his first season in Division I football. Sampson is looking to follow suit as he prepares for his sophomore season at San Mateo.

During Sampson's freshman season he tallied 87 tackles, three interceptions and 16 pass breakups, which more than one Division I suitor took note of.

"I have offers from both Utah and from BYU and I'm being looked at by Indiana, Oregon State, New Mexico State and Toledo," he mentioned. "Utah offered me about two weeks ago and then BYU offered me just this past week."

BYU's interest in no doubt stems from Logan's information about his very good childhood friend, but to receive a scholarship at a Division I program, and athlete has to prove his worth beyond what is related from a good friend. Sampson's abilities apparently stand on their own, as it's very unusual for a junior college player to receive such interest so early in the process.

"I can run a 4.4 forty and even a sub 4.4 forty," said Sampson. "That's my strength. I can catch from behind a lot of guys that run 4.3s and 4.4s. I feel that I can keep up with anyone."

San Mateo runs a 3-4 defensive scheme in which Sampson was often matched up one-on-one with the opposition's top receiver. That indicates an ability to play well in a man-on-man system or elsewhere.

"BYU wants me to play safety and I like that," he informed. "Coach Hill and Coach Howell both came up here last week and that's what they talked to me about playing. They feel I'd fit in well with their system, and I do too."

Due to his friendship with Logan, Sampson's education on BYU didn't start when the Cougar coaching staff first contacted him. Through many conversations with his childhood friend, Sampson has a much better idea of what BYU is like than a lot of other recruits do during this stage in the process.

"Brian tells me that it's a great place with great coaches and great fans," he said. "He says the crowd is just incredible at BYU and yeah, he really wants me to come there and it would be great to play with Brian during his final year."

Playing this coming season certainly is a possibility, as there is a chance that Sampson may earn his degree in time for August. BYU isn't banking on that possibility currently, but have informed him that they'll have a scholarship open for him this coming January. Utah, meanwhile, has told him that they will have a scholarship for him this August or this coming January.

In order to make his decision, Sampson plans on visiting BYU in the next couple of weeks and hopes to squeeze in a visit to Utah as well so that he can become more informed of their program.

"It's an exciting time for me," he summed up. "It's an honor to be offered by both Utah and by BYU. When Utah offered me, they told my coach while I was sitting there and I got real excited. When BYU offered me, Coach Mendenhall called me himself and that was incredible to hear from him and have him tell me how much they'd like me to be part of their program. Right now, I just want to consider my options and then decide when it feels right."

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