Sam Montgomery is new to the game of football. This time last year, he was still a basketball player. He grew up loving the game, but after his first year of organized football, he's hooked. The dominating defensive end put up some gaudy stats for a guy playing for his first time, as he accumulated 20 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. That standout season has led to offers from powerhouse programs from across the country.
"This recruiting thing is pretty interesting. I have 13 offers right now from Florida, Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina, Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, Alabama, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Miami and Southern Cal. Virginia and Georgia are telling me some good things and that an offer is coming."
Being new to the game of football, Sam doesn't have a favorite school and is pretty open to the process.
"There are no schools at the top or anything like that for me. I am open to each and every school that comes and offers me. I don't know a lot about some of these schools, but I want to learn about everyone who's interested."
Florida State is a school that has gotten on the talented prospect early. So far Montgomery has had the chance to speak to a few coaches at FSU. According to Sam, Florida State is a school that he is looking at.
"FSU is definitely a school I am considering. It's sounds like a school that is very interesting and it seems like a great place. Here in South Carolina people say Tommy Bowden is just like his father. I'd like to meet the big Bowden and shake his hand. I want to get there and see what's going on there. I've talked to a few coaches. Coach Dawsey was telling me how it is a great place to be. He was real down to earth. I liked how he wasn't trying to be a salesman about the program. He told me I just needed to come here and see it for myself. I really respected that."
When talking to Sam, you get a sense that he is looking for a coaching staff that is honest and forthright. He seems like a kid that doesn't want to sit through fluff from the coaches. He spoke a little about that.
"I want a coach that comes up to me and tells me about the program and looks me in the eyes. I want them to talk to me like a regular person. I want to be able to build a relationship with these guys. Coaches that have great relationships with their players are usually the more successful ones because they help them get through the tough times. I want the coaches to be honest with me."
Along with an honest coaching staff, Montgomery is looking at a few things when it comes to a school of his choice.
"Strong academics are number one. I want a good education I can fall back on. I want to play for a team that has a strong brotherhood too. I want to play on a team where everyone is there for each other and they want to win."
Sam says that he is one of the fast risers on the recruiting trail because of his desire to excel. He talks a little bit about him as a player.
"My work ethic is intense and serious. Off-the-field I am very silly and laid back. I like to have fun. But on-the-field I will do anything I can to outwork you. I really feel like you stand strong by the work you do, so I am going to continue to push myself to get better. No one is every going to outwork me. I'm 6'5 240 pounds right now. I feel like I am a better pass rusher and that is what I like to do. With more training I will improve my game and probably will continue to get bigger."
While it is very early in Montgomery's process, he has an idea of how his recruitment is going to unfold. At this time he plans on making all of 5 official visits to out-of-state schools because he can check out the in-state schools whenever he feels the need.
"I plan on making all 5 of my visits. They will be to out-of-state schools. I consider the North Carolina schools in-state, so I am including them into the schools I can make unofficials to whenever. I like all the schools that are not local, but schools like Maryland, Miami, Florida State, USC, Florida and Alabama are looking good. When time comes and the offers come in, I'll make some more decisions."
Sam has already made some tentative plans to start checking out schools within the next month. He's been to Clemson and South Carolina before, and was scheduled to be in Maryland this past weekend.
"Basically the next month or so I am going to start getting out there and seeing some of these schools. I plan on checking out North Carolina, and then I'm going to head down to Florida and see the schools there. I'll probably check out Alabama too."
Sam jokingly said that he's going to make his decision minutes before he announces on Signing Day, so don't look for a decision anytime soon. Also, basketball may end up playing a role before it's all said and done. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Sam and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.