A Chip Off the Old Block?

Sam Block is in Ames this week for ISU's padded camp. The Nebraska native is hoping to draw interest from the Cyclones in the hopes of following his grandfather's college football coaching roots in Ames. Having a personal connection to Barney Cotton doesn't hurt, either.

Sam Block grew up an Iowa State fan with his family living only four miles south of Jack Trice Stadium.  His loyalty to the Cyclones has held firm, even when the family moved to southern Missouri 11 years ago.   


Sam hails from a long line of football talent, his father King Block Jr., played linebacker at Nebraska from 1973-77, playing with current ISU offensive coordinator Barney Cotton. His grandfather, King Block Sr., was a linebacker coach at Nebraska, defensive coordinator at Washington State and coached at Iowa State with Johnny Majors during the Sun and Liberty Bowl squads. 


With all of that Husker history, Nebraska might seem an obvious choice for Sam, but he's going to decide for himself.


"I wouldn't mind going there, but I want to go where I want to go - not where [my father] went," Sam said. 


King Jr. said there was no more pressure for Sam to go to Nebraska than any other school.


"The best way to look at this is, it has to be a good fit for my son and right now we're just looking around," he said.


Besides Iowa State, Sam has attended camps at Missouri, Kansas State, along with the Adidas camp in Lincoln, Neb. and Nike camp at Kansas State. He'll travel to Northern Iowa's camp in two weeks and maybe Tulsa and Colorado State later in the summer.


He has no offers yet, be has been receiving interest from Kansas State, Missouri, Tulsa, Arkansas State and Northern Iowa.


"We're just weighing everything out to see what happens," King Jr. said. "We probably won't have a decision until the middle of the season. We have to look at all the options. He's a real good student in science so obviously Iowa State would be a good fit because of their programs."


Sam carries a 3.5 GPA entering his senior season at Ozark High School in Sparta, Mo. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds he plays both linebacker and quarterback, but prefers the linebacker position and hopes to play there in college.


Last season he was second on his high school team in tackles and had three interceptions.

"I learned a lot from last year and will hopefully be better this year," Sam said.


The Blocks drove up from Missouri on Saturday and have been impressed with what they've seen from Iowa State on the first day of camp.


"It's fantastic," King Jr. said. "It's a great camp, a tremendous university…a great organization."

Sam, who clocks in at 4.7 in the 40, said the best part of the camp so far has been the contact.


"I've had a lot of fun putting the pads on and hitting somebody," he said.

With King Sr. and other family members still residing in Ames, Sam would be able to enjoy some familiar faces in the crowd if he chooses to suit up for the Cyclones.


"It'd be easier for all my relatives to come watch me," Sam said. "They wouldn't have to drive hours to watch me."


King Sr. coached at Iowa State before the Cyclones played their games at Jack Trice Stadium. He said since that time everything involving the game has changed.


"The facilities are second to none in the Big 12," King Sr. said. "The [players] got a little bigger and faster and Iowa State's also attracted better quality athletes than they did back then."


King Jr. agreed: "Their whole program under Coach McCarney has really raised itself to a real high level, so it'd be an honor for any kid to go to school here."

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