The Seminoles Fourth Starting LB

Sometimes a player can get lost in all the talent that Florida State has at linebacker. Sam McGrew fits that description, but players and coaches see McGrew on the same level as some his more noted teammates.

There may be three starting names listed at linebacker each Saturday, but that's only a technicality.

It there's anyone that deserves recognition as a fourth, it is Sam McGrew.

"Actually we got four starters, we just can't list them," linebackers coach Kevin Steele said. "Sam (McGrew) is a starter and he plays like a starter and we treat him no different. One of them (McGrew or Buster Davis) just plays the first play."

He's always been part of a rotation, but that's something McGrew enjoys. As a freshman he played in all 14 games, backing up Allen Augustin. His current role, splitting time equally with Davis, has plenty of perks.

"You can stay fresh," said McGrew, who has 11 tackles, and a sack this season. "You won't ever be caught tired or getting tired, knowing that you always have someone there who is a great player. You play it extra, extra hard."

McGrew and Davis each have separate strengths, but both have shown the ability to play as complete linebackers.

Davis is better equipped to work in space. He's quick despite a bulky build, and fluid in open field.

McGrew is more suited for hard-nosed play in the box. That's his territory. In the last minute goal line series against Boston College, McGrew made several important tackles, including the initial stop on the Eagles' fourth down attempt.

"He's a trooper," said Steele. "That's his kind of game when they play smash mouth in the box."

Big plays bring out the best in McGrew.

When it seems like he is getting overlooked because of his talented teammates, McGrew always picks the perfect moment to re-emerge from the pack.

Last season against Syracuse, as the Orange were fighting down the field for one last shot at an upset, trailing by less than a touchdown and set on Florida State's 30-yand line with five seconds remaining, QB Perry Patterson took a shot at the endzone, but had the pass picked by McGrew, and the Seminoles sealed the win.

"I remember the whole play from the time that we came out of the huddle to the interception," said McGrew. "The couple of plays before they were trying to get to that same man. The last time I seen them talking to each other, talking about, ‘Let's go' and, ‘Are you ready?' I (knew) they were trying to get to him."

Added Davis: "He's a guy that can make plays at anytime, and that's what you need on your team."


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