Bergen Impresses Tenuta and Polian

Dating back to his days in junior high, or as a freshman starter on the varsity at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) High, people have always thought that class-of-2010 linebacker Sam Bergen was actually older than he really is.

"A lot of people seem to be impressed when they hear I'm so young," Sam Bergen said.

Count Notre Dame assistant coaches Jon Tenuta and Brian Polian as two more people in that mix.

The 6-foot, 225-pound Bergen camped at Notre Dame in early July. It was his first time on campus.

"First, they thought I was going to be a senior," Bergen began. "But they found out I was going to be a junior, so they were impressed with that.

Bergen then impressed them with his play.

"The linebackers coach, I guess he liked what he saw with my performance," Bergen said. He has been clocked at 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "He just told me to send film of my first four games of the season, and they'll keep an eye out for me.

"I think I really stood out compared to all the other linebackers there, because they really took me to the side more than anyone else. I was pretty sure I was a lot quicker than anyone else that was there."

As a sophomore, Bergen made 87 tackles from his middle linebacker spot. He also had 11 tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble, helping East Stroudsburg to an 8-3 record.

Besides Notre Dame, Bergen is also hearing from Michigan, Penn State, Illinois, Northwestern, Boston College, Pittsburgh and Stanford, where his brother Max will be a sophomore linebacker.

"They like how I hit," Bergen said of what college recruiters tell him. "They say I hit pretty hard, and my foot speed. I can get off blocks pretty well."

Bergen plans on being in the seats at Notre Dame Stadium this October, when the Irish host Stanford.

"It was one of the nicest campuses I've ever seen," Bergen said. "My brother plays at Stanford and they have one of the nicest campuses, but Notre Dame is up there. I was really impressed with their campus, and the tradition about them, and the coaches. They're one of my top interests right now."

Bergen's father Bill played defensive end at East Stroudsburg University, and has been enshrined in the school's Hall of Fame. His cousin Adam Bergen played at Lehigh before suiting up for a couple seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He is now in camp with the Baltimore Ravens.

Bergen may also go to a game at Illinois this fall. Former teammate Corey Lewis plays for the Illini, and he is trying to get Bergen to come out. Other than that, Bergen is taking everything in stride as the recruiting process is just getting underway.

"First of all, I'm trying to go to a school that wins, a good tradition and history," Bergen explained. "Then next, it's probably the coaches. I'm also trying to go to a good academic school as well."


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