Pa. LB favors Rutgers

A serious knee injury ended the junior season of this promising prospect from Pennsylvania, but he is off to a fast start in 2009 and the interest is picking up. He will attend Rutgers' homecoming game Saturday against Texas Southern, and believes an offer from the Scarlet Knights is close. The player favors Rutgers, and he spoke to about his recruitment and his season.

As a sophomore, Sam Bergen began making a name for himself as a prospect who could turn into one of eastern Pennsylvania's top middle linebackers in the class of 2010.

But a torn anterior cruciate ligament tear in his knee ended his junior season after two games, and his stock plummeted as programs took a show-me attitude heading into his senior season.

Now, the East Stroudsburg (Pa.) High product is proving his health with his play on the field, and the interest is increasing.

Saturday, Bergen will travel to Rutgers for an unofficial visit to watch the Scarlet Knights host Texas Southern on homecoming. It will mark his second trip to Rutgers this season. He attended the season-opener against Cincinnati.

"I would say my favorite is Rutgers right now,'' Bergen said. "I just have a good feeling about coach (Greg) Schiano and the school, and everything about it. I would say Rutgers is No. 1 right now, and next would be Stanford. They have a great coach.''

The 6-foot, 225-pound Bergen does not have a Rutgers offer yet, but he believes that is about to change.

"I'd say they're pretty serious,'' Bergen said. "They're definitely considering offering me pretty soon.''

Bergen is also considering Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Michigan State and Illinois, but the reason Stanford is running second may be familiarity with the program. Bergen's brother, Max, is a red-shirt sophomore linebacker with the Cardinal.

UConn was the only school on Bergen's interest list he didn't camp at in the summer, and he knows what he wants in a school.

"This really isn't an issue and it's a positive, but I want a good school to start out with academically. That is the most important,'' Bergen said. "I'd like for them to have a good program and have a good feeling with the coaches and the players. That's important. That's what I'm looking for.''

On the field, Bergen's shaken off the rust from missing most of his junior season to led East Stroudsburg to a 4-1 start. He has three sacks and 36 tackles, including more than 10 for loss from his middle-linebacker position.

"I blitz I would say maybe 30 percent of the time, but most of the time I'm just reading (and reacting),'' Bergen said.

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