National signing day for college football is the first Wednesday in February, and not long after inking the high school talent to national letters of intent, the questions begin. One of the most frequently asked questions by fans is-"Which freshmen can help next season?"
After perusing the
Even though Sam is with the #2 group now, Coach Quinn cautions that there are no guarantees a true freshman will remain there. "As a true freshman there are a lot of things to learn from an assignment standpoint and fundamentals. It's also a lot more mental because defenses change their configurations quickly and you have to be a quick thinker. A true freshman doesn't have the experience to think as quickly, and it holds them back a little bit." But Sam is hoping to continue to impress by relying on what got him in this position. "It's been hard work. I've tried to work hard every day."
In order to reach his potential, the Don Bosco Prep star knows he'll need to add weight to his 6' 5" frame next season. "I honestly want to come in at 280. I know it will be hard, but you have to aim high." For now, Coach Longo has his next pet project teaming with his current one. Sam has been instructed to sit next to Jason Kelce at all meals. Jason was a 240 pound linebacker last spring and now lines up as a 280 pound center. "That's very true. I sit next to Kelce, and I eat until I can't eat any more. Than I eat some more after that." The goal is to get Sam up to 280 pounds without losing any of his 4.8 forty speed.
Although Sam has shot to the head of the true freshmen offensive line
class, Coach Quinn is far from disappointed with the other five rookies-Craig Parmenter, Blake McCroskey, T. J. Franklin, Frank Becker, and Alex Hoffman. "I'm very pleased with them. They're
showing me they want to learn. They love
In high school, Sam played defensive line for his freshman and sophomore seasons before switching over to offense for his final two years. He thought the Bearcats might return him to the more glamorous position of defensive end and laughed about his wishful thinking. "Yeah, I thought there was a chance." But the young man who plays the piano and drums looked too good to Coach Quinn as an offensive lineman. "I saw it on film and felt he could be a really good one."
With his mother expected to be in attendance for the August 30th
In the long run, Sam might be better off redshirting like his classmates. He might even end up being a four year starter on the offensive front if he does. But he's faced one of the better defensive lines in the Big East on a daily basis and more than held his own. He thinks his time could be now, and as strange as it may seem, he could be right.