Family Attraction Big Draw For Sampson

San Mateo Junior College safety Joe Sampson currently holds two offers from rival schools. Both BYU and Utah have offered Sampson in recent weeks, but there is one card up the proverbial Cougar sleeve that tips the balance in BYU's favor.

Coach Mendenhall mentioned during his signing day press conference this past February that the secondary was the most difficult part of the team to recruit, and that tapping into the junior college ranks could be something the staff does more of. True to his word, the Cougar staff recently received a verbal commitment from cornerback DeQuan Everett.

Coach Mendenhall and his staff have now turned their focus on another outstanding secondary prospect: 6-foot, 203-pound safety Joe Sampson of San Mateo Junior College.

Total Blue Sports first wrote an article about Sampson a few days ago.

"I really like to play with a passion and hate to lose," said Sampson. "You have to come out and know your assignment every play, have a hard-work ethic and have the heart of a lion."

The University of Utah first extended an offer to Sampson two weeks ago. Not long after that, Cougar coaches followed up with an offer of their own after attending one of Sampson's practices.

"They stayed for the entire practice and watched me work out the whole time," said Sampson. "After the practice they offered me a scholarship. I think it was last week on Tuesday. I guess they liked what they saw and I'm going to be going out there in two weeks."

Though he is still weighing his options, Sampson is happy to have been offered by the Cougar program.

"Honestly, I think it's a blessing to be able to play for a program like BYU," Sampson said. "How I see it, they have a very good program. They produce good players and the academics are very good, so it's like either way it's a good look."

As was mentioned in the previous article about Sampson, BYU has offered Sampson a scholarship that would take effect next January, though he could potentially be done with his classes by the end of summer. BYU coaches have told him they don't have any more scholarships right now, but he isn't bothered by the scholarship situation.

"Honestly, that's not a problem for me," Sampson said. "I have to wait anyway because I have to wait by the end of the summertime."

Not only is Sampson very good friends with BYU cornerback Brian Logan, as Total Blue Sports previously wrote about, but the two are actually related.

"I'm related to Brian on my mom's side of the family," Sampson said. "My mom is Brian's dad's sister, so her maiden name is Logan. We are very close and we're basically like brothers. We grew up together and have been playing football together outside my grandmother's house since we were about five years old. Every weekend we would just go over there and play football."

Playing football outside of their grandmother's house eventually led to the two playing together at Foothill College years later.

"When [Logan] was playing cornerback there I was playing cornerback on the other side," Sampson said. "It was a family affair in our secondary. We also had twin brothers playing safety at the same time, so it was basically all family out there."

Obviously, playing on the same team as Logan once more is very appealing for Sampson.

"I would just love to have the opportunity to play again with him," said Sampson. "I mean, man, we really just go all out on the field when we play together. He's pretty happy about me coming up there for a visit. He told me that he just had his surgery on a hernia, so he should be able to walk around by then."

However, it remains to be seen when Sampson would actually get out on the field should he commit to BYU.

"I want to play with Brian, but if I redshirt then I can't play with him, but at least I can be up there with him."

Following BYU's last spring practice held at LaVell Edwards Stadium, Logan was asked a question concerning the importance of cohesion between the safeties and cornerbacks. Logan's example of its importance reflected a time when he played with his cousin back at Foothill College.

"Oh it's very important, very important," said Logan. "It's one of those things where if you are very close like a family, there's an unspoken communication between everyone. I know what everyone else is going to do even though they haven't told me, and they know what I'm going to do. It's so much easier when you're playing with guys you consider to be your brothers, just like when I played with my cousin back at the JC level. He's like my brother and he knew I would do everything I could for him and I knew he would do the same for me."

"That was a great experience," Sampson said. "That was probably my favorite team because I got to play with Brian and another buddy of mine from my high school. We were just all out there playing like a family. That's what made that experience special in my mind. You just want to push each other and help each other work as hard as you can."

Though they now live apart, Sampson and Logan have kept in contact with each other. Naturally, BYU is a frequent topic of their discussions.

"Brian told me that BYU is a great place, a great place," said Sampson. "He talked to me a lot about how the people there are really friendly. He said the people there treat him really well and the environment is great. He said the coaches all treat him great and everything is good basically."

In a previous interview, Coach Mendenhall said the following of Logan: "If you asked him how practice went, he would say ‘Great.' If you asked him how well he's doing, he would say ‘Great.' He always has a smile and never has a negative thing to say, and that's reflective of his character and the type of person he is."

Logan fits the BYU mold when it comes to recruiting top quality athletes that can live a high standard of social ethics. He often credits his mother for being the one that taught him to 'stay close to the Lord, prepare yourself for the day with some gospel music in the morning and read the scriptures.' Meanwhile, Sampson doesn't stray very far from the family mold.

"Spiritually, we're both the same," Sampson said. "I believe in God first, always. That's something that's very important to me, very important. With Brian, he always went to church every Sunday because his mom would make him go."

One of the other things that make BYU an attractive program to Sampson is its emphasis on character and values.

"I mean, it's a good thing because you have to always work your hardest to be the best in everything," Sampson. "You have to know right from wrong, and if you know that then there aren't as many distractions in your life. It helps you to stay focused on the task whether it's school, work or football. It helps you to stay more focused. I think it's always good when a school puts some restrictions on things so that you stay focused on school and football. Things like this keep you closer as a family and you don't have anything to worry about. You don't have any peer pressure and all that kind of stuff."

That focus on family and other important aspects is something Logan has experienced himself during his time as a Cougar.

"When I came out here I learned really quickly that my perceptions were wrong," said Logan in a previous interview. "The focus is a lot different out here. We do things as a team, and the fact that people are so accepting and nice to you out here, it's just amazing. It's that much more than what I thought it would be out here. My experience out here has exceeded all expectations."

When Sampson heads out to BYU for his official visit, it's certain that his Cougar cousin will be his host and show him around and introduce him to the members of the "fam-first defense" and "band of brothers" team.

"I'm just going to check out the atmosphere and see how the people are," Sampson said. "I want to see how the practices are ran and how the coaches are with the players. I want to see how the team looks playing together and basically get a feel for things."

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