Coach Jim Tompkins seems to always pull a surprise top recruit out of his hat. This year is no different. This year he has found a linebacker most recruiting publications outside of Georgia didn't list in their pre-season issues. And a good one he is.

Sam Olajubutu, Jr. (5-10, 205, 4.5) was selected as the Georgia 3A Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus First-Team All-State selection. He made 170 tackles, including 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage this year for Lagrange High School. Sam is not only an outstanding player, but a good student who will easily qualify.

I caught up with Sam Tuesday night (January 2). Here is my interview with him.

How long have you been starting for your high school?
"I have been starting three years."

Didn't your team go 15-0 this year and win the 3A state championship?
"Yes sir, we did."

How good was your team this year? Did you win by huge margins or win a few by close margins?
"A lot of them we easily won but a few were close. One that was close was the state championship game. We won that 22-19."

How did your team do last year?
"We went 11-1. We lost to Waynesboro and they went on to win the state championship last year."

It sounds like you played on a great team the past two years, was the team as good your sophomore year?
"No sir, we weren't that good my sophomore year, we were 2-8."

Your team really showed great improvement the last two years. How did they become so much better?
"We worked hard and we were young my sophomore year."

Have you always played linebacker?
"Linebacker and running back."

So you also play running back. How did you do as a running back this season?
"I had about 600 yards."

How did you do at linebacker?
"I broke the career tackle record at Lagrange High."

How many tackles did you make during your career?
"I had like 370 or something close to that."

That's a lot of tackles. How many did you have this season?

How many sacks did you have?
"I didn't have that many sacks, but I had about 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage."

That's a great senior season. Did you do as well last season?
"Last year I had about 120 tackles."

Name the schools that are recruiting you?
"Arkansas, Middle Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Southern and Mississippi State."

What position are the schools recruiting you for?
"Outside linebacker."

Is that where you want to play in college
"It doesn't really matter to me. I can play the strong safety type if I need to."

Have you officially visited any schools?
"No, my first visit is this Friday."

Who are you visiting this Friday?
"Mississippi State."

What other schools do you have lined up for visits?
"I've got Arkansas and Middle Tennessee right now."

When are you visiting those two schools?
"I'm going to visit Middle Tennessee on the 18th and Arkansas on the 25th."

What is about each of those three schools that you like?
"I like Mississippi State's type defense. Academically, they offer the course that I want to take up."

What course is that?
"Engineering, Civil Engineering."

You must be a pretty good student.
"Yes sir."

What coach from Mississippi State is recruiting you?
"Coach Tompkins."

What is your impression of him?
"I like him because he is straight forward and he is a good coach."

Talk about the other two schools that you are interested in?
"I like how Arkansas plays defense and I like how Middle Tennessee blitzes all the time. I also feel that both have good academics."

Are you leaning to any of the schools that you have mentioned?
"I am probably leaning to Arkansas and Mississippi State."

Thanks for your time, Sam.

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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