When Greenwood, SC star Sam Montgomery stepped on the football field for his junior campaign, not many college scouts had him on their radar. My what a difference a few weeks last fall made.
“It was a great season,” Montgomery said regarding his 65 tackle, 20 tackle-for-loss, 20 sack performance. “I had a real good season. When I first came out it was like, ‘who is this #88? Ahhh, he’s this big soft guy. Lets run to his side.’ People soon started to find out that I was an absolute beast out there! That’s what I strived on being last season. When coaches watch me, they see a kid that has limitless potential and that runs to the football. They also see a kid that is a pure athlete. They see a kid that never takes plays off and is constantly running to the football. They also see a kid that has great stamina. He also gets the team going. I hadn’t played football since I was in the eighth grade. It was my first year coming back since junior high school playing football, so I had to make my name known.”
Prior to last year, Montgomery mad his name on the basketball floor. Even now he still calls the hardwood his first love.
“I ball,” he said. “That’s my passion. I’d love to play both sports in college. I’m basically a board crasher. I crash the boards. I do a lot of down and dirty work. I dribble real well and can push the ball up the court. I’m still working on increasing my game, though. My rebounds keep on increasing. That’s what I’m really about… rebounding and garbage points. Go down there and bang. Most people I see in the NCAA don’t like to bang and get on the glass. You put me in and I’ll control the boards, play defense, shut my man down, and lock him down.”
Whether schools will grant him the opportunity to try his hand at being a dual sport contributor remains to be seen. Up to this point the collegiate attention coming his way has definitely been for his football talents. This spring, his name emerged as one of the hottest in the county. At 6-4, 240, and reportedly capable of running the forty in under 4.5 seconds, he is suddenly a major priority for a number of big time programs. Once he learned of Michigan’s interest he immediately became excited because of a connection he claims to Great Lake State.
“I’m from Detroit,” he said. “I left back when I was young. You might as well say I was raised in South Carolina, but Detroit… that’s my heart.”
Montgomery’s Motor City roots could be a plus for the Maize & Blue, but according to the youngster’s mother, maybe not as much as he let on.
“That boy is not from Detroit,” Mrs. Montgomery said laughing. “We have family in Detroit, but he is not from Detroit. I’ll tell you what… he knows how to make me laugh.”
The youngster also knows how to make his mother proud. As the weeks go by, his scholarship pile continues to grow.
“I think I have around 18 offers,” Montgomery reported. “I’ve got Miami, Florida, Florida State, USC, I’ve got LSU, Clemson, South Carolina, Maryland, Illinois, Vanderbilt, UNC, NC State, Duke… I’ve got a lot. Right now I really can’t say any school is sticking out. It’s too early in the recruiting game. I really don’t really know a lot about the schools because I don’t really watch ESPN. I know that’s hard to believe. You could probably ask me who the coach is from (any if schools recruiting him) and I probably wouldn’t be able to tell him from a regular person walking down the street.”
Montgomery’s lack of familiarity with who’s who in college football may stem from the fact that he hasn’t had much time to keep up with it. Basketball has long been his sport, and he wasn’t watching or playing himself, he was probably busy doing something much more meaningful.
“My momma always told me, ‘boy you go to get those grades because one thing that I can’t deal with and tolerate is a stupid athlete,’“ he said. “They can’t ever say, that guy doesn’t have his books… he doesn’t have it in the classroom. As much as I shine out on the field, I try to work ten times as hard so I shine just as much in the classroom.”
When decision time rolls around, academics will play a key roll. What mom has to say will too.
“Whatever my mom says will be taken under consideration,” said
Montgomery. “As long as my momma is comfortable with the people she’s
dropping me off with, she’ll be fine wherever I go. Those are exactly
the words out of my momma’s mouth. She has to have to people that she
trusts around me. As for me, I have to feel comfortable with the school, the
team, the attitude, the facilities, the people in the community… even
the fans. It just has to be somewhere comfortable. I’ll probably decide
on signing day.”