Sampson returns from Seattle impressed

<b>Shelton Sampson</b>, a 5-11, 175-pound running back/athlete from Lakewood, Washington just returned home from a busy weekend at the <b>University of Washington</b>. All signs point to a great visit, one that may have turned things around in the recruiting battle with <b>UCLA</b>.

"We flew to coach's house on a seaplane," Sampson told this afternoon about his arrival in Seattle with South Kitsap running back Ryan Cole and their parents. "It was cool to see Seattle, Lakewood and Tacoma. Normally when you fly you can't see those things. I was trying to find my school and stuff. We saw Bill Gates' house. My goodness, it was huge. It was like a resort. It was pretty nice. Then we flew in to coach's house. Coach's wife had some cookies for us."

The Sampson's and Cole's didn't get much time to catch their breath as they quickly moved on to downtown Seattle. "We headed out to the Space Needle for lunch," Shelton said. It was just our parents and the coaches, which was nice. Then we went to the career resource center. We talked to them about what we wanted to major in. Then we went to practice. The team looked good. After that we went to dinner at Morton's. It was real good also. Then we went from Morton's to meet our hosts. Reggie (Williams) was my host. He just introduced me to all of the players. That was cool. Friday was a little more relaxed, because the players had practice the next day."

That was a pretty packed day, but Shelton's visit was just warming up. "Saturday we had breakfast at Daniel's. After Daniel's we got to meet the strength coach, the education person that's with the players all the time and then after that we went to lunch at Jillians. We got to mingle with the players, which was a good things. We went to dinner at the James Center. They had our jerseys up there. The coaches told us that they appreciated us coming up and hopefully this will be the right decision for you guys and we would be glad to have you."

And this morning? "Today we went to Coach's house for breakfast and then we headed home," he said. "It was a pretty good trip overall."

What did Sampson learn about the Huskies and their program that was new to him? In a word? Plenty. "The coaches are easy to talk to," he started off. "The staff and the coaches have their programs down pat. A lot of colleges, there's a downfall between the coaches and the professors, but that's not the case there. That was pretty cool. The school was nice and I could relate to the players really well."

He continued. "One of the questions I had about the school is if I wanted to go pro but also wanted to finish school would they still pay for it and they said yes they would. In fact, they have someone that actually goes out and tries to find the players that go out early to have them finish, which I thought was a good thing."

Shelton also found out that the conditioning aspect of strength and conditioning was more involved than he originally thought. "I was talking to the strength coach and found out that they have a nutritionist, which is a good thing because I'm trying to gain weight., but at the same time I have to stay at a certain weight to do what I can do on the football field."

Most importantly, Shelton is a man of faith and was able to get some reassuring thoughts from Washington's chaplain. "I met their chaplain (Mike Rohrbach) and he's a really good guy," he said. "One of the main things I'm looking at is if the school has a connect with doing the right things and trying to live life right and live by Christ and I got to talk to him and we shared interests in a lot of different things, which was great."

Sampson loved watching the practices, especially the guys at his position. "I watched the running backs go. That's where I was the whole time. I watched (Willie) Hurst and I'm about the same size he is, maybe a little taller. Just watching him play made me realize that wherever I go, even if it's there, I can get the job done. And that's exactly what he does. And he has fun doing it. So if that's what I want to do I know I'll be able to do it."

From what Shelton had to say, the recruits all seemed to build a nice bond in the short time they spent together. "Jordan (Slye)," Sampson mentioned as one of the recruits he instantly bonded with. "I got to make good friends with him. There were a couple of guys came out from Hawaii. And there was a guy from California, (Chris) Solomona. He was a pretty cool guy. And I met a running back from California (Marcus O'Keith) that was nice."

Any thoughts of committing to the Huskies will have to remain on the back burner for the time being. "Right now I'm just going to talk to my parents about taking my visit to UCLA, see what they want me to do," he said. For all intent and purpose, his earlier verbal commit to UCLA is null and void. "If I decide to go on my visit (to UCLA), then I'll be taking that on Saturday. Notre Dame is further in January. January 18th. That's that now, but if I make another decision then that's the direction I'll go."

Shelton sounded awfully close to pulling the trigger, but there is some lingering doubt. "I don't know," he said. "I'm going to talk that out with my parents. I was really impressed with U-Dub and Coach Alford. Just the school in general and how I related to the players. I'm still talking it over with my parents. It wouldn't be fair to call me a commit at this time."

We'll be in touch soon with Shelton as he ponders over his decision. Top Stories