Shrine Bowl: Sam Montgomery Spotlight

ROEBUCK, S.C. --- Sam Montgomery had a scary moment Monday, early in the first practice of the Shrine Bowl. During an inside-run drill, Montgomery found himself on the ground with a lot of pain in his right big toe.

"It hurt – but it was a different type of pain – but I didn't think it was a big deal," Montgomery said. "When the pain didn't go away, that's when I got concerned."

The Greenwood (S.C.) star would spend the rest of Monday's first practice session icing his big toe. While his teammates returned to the field later that afternoon, Montgomery was getting his right foot x-rayed and examined.

"There's just some swelling on my right toe," Montgomery said. "And that's basically it. No broken bones, nothing serious, just a little bit of swelling."

Depending on how he feels Tuesday and what the trainer thinks after another examination, Montgomery could return to the practice field as early as Tuesday morning.

"Hopefully I will be," Montgomery said regarding the prospect of returning for Tuesday's first practice. "I'm not going to rush it. I'm just going to take my time."

Before sustaining his injury, the 6-5, 240-pound Montgomery was working with the starting group at one of the more important positions of the ‘50' defense: the stand-up, weak-side defensive end.

"Basically my responsibility is to play some contain, I have one stunt call, and I'm playing a little bit of coverage on the outside man," Montgomery said. "Basically, my job is to contain, get inside, take the run if it comes at me, but mainly though sack that quarterback. They want me to get off that edge as quickly as possible at the end, work my hands, flip my hips, and get to the quarterback."

Whenever he returns to the field, Montgomery plans to reclaim his starting role.

"I've always thought of myself as one of the better players," Montgomery said. "I came out here at first and I was proving [that I deserve a starting role]. I was doing in some guys and doing really well. So they threw me into the starting group. I really appreciate that; that's a huge accomplishment.

"But I also know that [Josh Roseborough] is also a good player. He's going to go out there and work hard. He's proven that he can start, too. He's proven that by doing well throughout practice."

Before arriving at the Shrine Bowl, Montgomery narrowed his list of schools under consideration and scheduled all five of his official visits.

"When I go on my official visits, I'm going to go about my visits. I'm going to use my time wisely, [and] see what I need to see," Montgomery said.

North Carolina is among the schools to make the cut and will receive an official visit from Montgomery during the weekend of January 16.

"The man by the name of John Blake put UNC in that position," Montgomery said. "He's a good nice man, he's a family guy. He treats his players with a lot of respect and treats them like a family – he also treats me like that. He said it's ten times worse when you get on the team – I respect that and I like that."

Montgomery unofficially visited UNC over the summer and returned to Chapel Hill for the Notre Dame game. For his official visit, Montgomery is hoping to continue to learn about the program, as well as build a comfort level on campus.

"I hope to see everything is good as far as facilities, see everything again, meet the people [connected with the program], and just hang out with the fellas," Montgomery said.

Montgomery will also officially visit Michigan on January 9, Tennessee on January 23, LSU on January 27, and Oregon on January 30.

"[The schools that I'm visiting] have an opportunity for me to come in and play early – very early," Montgomery said.

In addition to the five aforementioned schools, Montgomery is considering in-state schools Clemson and South Carolina.

Montgomery plans to announce his collegiate destination on Signing Day.

"[The deciding factors will be] how much I bond with the fellas and which one of those coaches do I trust the most," Montgomery said.

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