San Diego (CA) Madison linebacker Sampson Niu said he “couldn’t complain” when asked how he was feeling. Considering the scholarship run the three-star linebacker has been on the last few days, it’s hard to be negative about anything.
Starting with the South Carolina and Wisconsin on Monday, Niu has picked up major division 1 offers from Notre Dame, Washington, California and Ole Miss by Wednesday, and there will likely be more on the way.
“It’s overwhelming, and I’m just trying to take it all in,” said Niu. “It’s crazy to think a small boy from San Diego is getting big time offers. It’s truly a blessing.”
Looking to establish some kind of pipeline into the talent-rich state, the Badgers hadn’t done much talking to the 6-1, 200-pound linebacker until defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield followed him on social media.
“It was kind of a crazy thing,” said Niu. “He followed me on Twitter, I hit him up and he said to give him a call when I had a chance. I called him and it went from there.”
Admittedly a big fan of USC, Niu became impressed with Wisconsin’s defense with the way the Badgers frustrated the Trojans in the 2015 Holiday Bowl. Winning the game 23-21, Wisconsin held USC to 286 total yards, including 5-for-14 on third down, and delivered constant pressures that resulted in sacks and a critical late game turnover.
“Man, their defense is really good,” said Niu. “They’re physical. I really liked the pass rush.”
Niu admitting that the Notre Dame offer extended to him by recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Mike Elston got him very excited because of the school’s tradition and culture, while subsequent offers from Pac-12 and SEC schools validate how hard he’s worked at his game.
“I guess coaches really love my film,” said Niu, who finished around 90 tackles last season. “It speaks for itself … I go into a zone when I’m playing. I play side-to-side, and I’m really aggressive.”
Although playing mostly in a 4-3 scheme, Niu has no preference to the system he wants to play in college. He also says he doesn’t have any favorites, evaluating every offer individually as it comes in. Although Niu is hopeful he’ll have a USC offer to consider someday, he said he’ll consider schools outside California. He’s already visited Auburn, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
“These new offers have opened my eyes to a lot of schools,” he said.
Having not scheduled any campus visits in the coming weeks, Niu will start getting to know schools and coaching staffs before narrowing his list.
“Other than academics, I want to play for a coach that has the same passion for the game as me and really likes football,” Niu said. “I’m very competitive and love to win.”