Joe Sampson impressed with BYU

Joe Sampson from San Mateo Junior College in California took his official trip to BYU over the weekend and came back with very positive impressions. Sampson is the cousin of Cougar cornerback Brian Logan, so he was obviously well briefed on BYU prior to his visit. So did his official trip experience match up with what his cousin described to him?

"BYU was actually better than I thought it would be and I thought I'd love it there before my trip, so it was a very positive experience," said Joe Sampson. "What was amazing was how nice everyone was. When I talk to Coach Mendenhall, he told me there was a reason why they call BYU ‘Happy Valley,' and that's exactly what it was."

Joe Sampson is a 6-foot, 205-pound safety prospect that Cougar coaches are looking to play at strong safety to replace Andrew Rich starting next season. Sampson holds a scholarship offer from Utah and has received a lot of interest from Pac-10 schools.

He made the trip with his father Larry Sampson, arriving on Friday when he first met up with BYU assistant coach Nick Howell.

"He was a real cool guy," said Sampson about Coach Howell. "He showed me around all weekend and he was great to talk to. He spent a lot of time with me before I met with the team."

Following lunch, Sampson toured the facilities and attended the team walkthrough in preparation for the Washington game. It was then that he met most of the team and the rest of the coaching staff.

"I can't even tell you which players I hit it off with because there were so many of them," he related. ‘Everyone was great and they really were like a family. So many guys just came up to me and they all seemed to know a lot about me. It was really great and I really felt comfortable being around everyone."

The next day was spent almost entirely with the team as he sat in on team meetings and took special note of the position group meeting conducted by BYU defensive coordinator and defensive back coach Jaime Hill.

"That was great sitting in on that and hearing how great he was at preparing the team and preparing a lot of great schemes for them to defend Washington," he said. "It was intense and just being in there, you knew they were going to do well against Washington."

After the meetings, it was time for the opening game of the season. Sampson was able to be on the field before exiting to the first row of seats for the game.

"It was crazy," he said about the crowd and the overall game atmosphere. "The fans were so loud and the energy was incredible. I'd definitely love to play in front of a crowd like that."

BYU was able to put forth one of its better defensive efforts, stalemating the Washington offense and holding it to no points during the second half. Logan was able to perform very well and make some key plays, which wasn't a surprise at all to his cousin.

"Brian was outstanding and it was great to see him make the play on that [late] fourth down for Washington," he said. "I know Brian loves it at BYU and I know he's a great player, so him playing like he did didn't surprise me at all. It's what he does."

Sampson is keen on following in Logan's footsteps, albeit in playing safety instead of corner. While on his visit he could see himself fitting in very well with what BYU does on the field of play and also fitting in as a student.

"I love how they play defense and how creative they were," he said. "I got to talk to Andrew Rich a lot and he really explained how to play his position, which is where I'll be playing if I do go to BYU. Everyone was incredible. It wasn't just the players though, people everywhere would come up to me and just be friendly with me, which was great. BYU really has a positive atmosphere about it, which I loved."

The next morning he was able to eat breakfast with Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall, which was a very enjoyable experience.

"I loved how he was and how he talked to me, and my dad was really impressed with him as a coach," said Sampson. "We talked a lot about how to fit in well at BYU and about character issues, what I'd need to do to succeed at BYU, and it was great. Brian told me all about it before, so I knew what to expect, but BYU was even better than what he explained to me, I thought."

Sampson left his visit without committing, but he will be placing a phone call to the Cougar coaching staff Monday night with what may be good news for the football program and fans.

"I could commit for sure," he said. "I don't know for sure what I'm going to do, but I have a good idea. I just want to think it over some more, but I could definitely see myself playing for BYU and so could my dad. I love that they're going independent, so that they can play a lot of great teams on national television and yeah, I'd definitely love to be a part of that."

TBS will obviously follow up with Sampson Monday night.

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