Bergen Working To Bounce Back

Sam Bergen already had the first down, he was just looking for extra yardage.

"I was running down the sideline and I planted on my left foot, and I got hit at the same time, and my knee hyper-extended and I felt a pop," Sam Bergen explained. "I kind of knew it was bad. I tried to get up, and I guess the rest is history."

Unfortunately just two games in, the class-of-2010 linebacker recruit that also doubles as a fullback from East Stroudsburg (Pa.) High, saw his junior season come to an end with a torn ACL.

Bergen didn't stay down about it too long, and neither have college recruiters including Irish assistant coach John Latina.

"Coach Latina told me it's not that big of a deal," the 6-foot, 225-pound Bergen said. He is also hearing from places like Rutgers, Penn State, California, Georgia, Michigan State and Stanford, where his brother Max is a red-shirt freshman.

"I'll rehab it, and I'm just ready for next year. All the colleges that know about it have been positive. It's not as bad as it used to be. In six months I'll be 100 percent. It's just a minor bump in the road. I'm confident I can overcome it.

"I'm also confident in my surgery. I had surgery two Fridays ago. It was a hospital with a special surgery. Dr. Russell Warren, he's the team doctor for the New York Giants. He operated just recently on Osi Umenyiora. They do knees and shoulders, so I'm feeling really good about that."

Bergen is also feeling really good about Notre Dame.

This summer, he impressed linebackers coach Jon Tenuta during the Irish football camp, and this past weekend he attended his first-ever Notre Dame game on an unofficial visit.

"I enjoyed the day," Bergen said. "From the first minute I got there they treated me well. I enjoyed the campus and the game was exciting as well.

Notre Dame defeated Stanford 28-21. Bergen was the first recruit to arrive at the football offices. He later got to stand on the sideline during pre-game warm-ups, before taking in the game and going inside the locker room afterwards.

"I thought it was awesome," Bergen stated. "Of course with the tradition and the history it was a big deal. They had the recruits right next to the student section. That was wild. It was memorable, especially because it was the first Notre Dame game I've been to. I've always been a fan. And to see my brother on the field at the same time, it was a special day.

"Sitting next to my Dad, we didn't really know who to cheer for. It was a different kind of feeling having my brother out there, and I've been a fan of Notre Dame for so long, it was so strange. It was really a win-win situation.

"I thought it was a really nice locker room. Of course when you first walk in, the glass display and all that was really interesting. It was nice to be able to meet some of the current players and see what it's like to be on the team. They brought you up close."

Bergen was able to get one-on-one time with Irish assistant coach John Latina for about 30 minutes.

"I had a good conversation with coach Latina," Bergen said.

"Coach Latina said he is going to stop by and see me around January or prior to our off-season workouts. I'll be lifting, so I told him I'd be in there and he said he'll stop by and see how I'm doing. I'm looking forward to that."

After leaving the locker room, Bergen was able to catch up with his brother for about 30 minutes before he had to leave with the Stanford team.

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.

Bergen also enjoyed listening to Weis speak to the recruits in attendance before the game.

"He gave a great speech," Bergen said. "It was interesting. I think he's a great coach, just the way he carries himself with the team. He couldn't talk to us individually, but I thought it was for a good reason because he had to go in and talk to the team. When you're a coach your team is your first priority, and I respected him for that."

Bergen has also taken an unofficial visit to Rutgers, but he doesn't know if he'll go on any more this season. He is making rehab his first priority.

"I know I have to put in a lot of hard work to get back to where I want to be." Top Stories