Sams On The Rise

A number of second-level "Sam" backers have the skills to play at the professional level, but due to injuries, transfers and some off the field concerns, their status in the eyes of the professional scouts is still very much up in the air. Former scout Tom Marino takes an early look and gives his opinion as to which players might make a major move in 2008.

SAM backers must - first and foremost - have the size and strength to effectively play over a tight end. Four seasons ago, Willie Williams was widely considered the top prep linebacker prospect in the country, but was also a major character concern off the field. After failing to stay clean at both the University of Miami and Louisville University and a brief stint in junior college, the talented Williams takes his game to tiny Glenville State for his final shot of resurrecting his once-promising career.

Elsewhere, former Notre Dame linebacker and special team player Anthony Vernaglia has transferred to Hofstra for his senior career and hopes to impact in what will be his first season as a regular at the collegiate level.

Grand Valley State's Daniel Skuta and Darren Burns of California (PA) U are small college playmakers with impressive edge pass rushing skills. I like Ashlee Palmer's all around playing skills, range and playing instincts. Romeo Davis returns for the U. of Miami Hurricanes, after missing the 2007 season due to injury.

Kyle Bosworth of UCLA has a famous name and equally famous uncle, but looked to have just adequate tools and playing potential. Ezekial Knight of Alabama, flashed some during his playing career, but has been advised due to a medical condition to give up the game.

Grade Last First School 2007 Stats
Solo - Assist - Total - Sack - TFL
D McCovy Adrian Arizona U 0-3-3-0-0-0
D Francois Robert Boston College 26-14-40-0.5-2-0
D Nixon David BYU 38-28-66-4-10-0
D Burns Darren California (PA) U 35-24-59-9.5-13-2
D Foster Jonathan Central State (OH) 9-12-21-0-3.5-0
D Verdell Toddrick Florida St 16-6-22-0-1-1
D Etukeren Ataefiok Georgetown (DC) 27-22-49-0-1.5-0
D Williams Willie Glenville State No 2007 production
D Skuta Daniel Grand Valley State 32-45-77-11.5-17.5-0
D Vernaglia Anthony Hofstra 9-11-20-0-1-0
D Williams Johnny Kentucky U 25-18-43-0-1-0
D Covington Trey Maryland U 20-23-43-2.5-5-0
D Davis Romeo Miami U 2-0-2-0-0-0
D Palmer Ashlee Mississippi U 50-39-59-0.5-7-3
D Alexander Van Missouri U 28-32-60-1-1-0
D Norris Slade Oregon St 13-3-16-9-10-0
D Henson Robert Texas Christian U 39-27-66-0-2-2
D Bosworth Kyle UCLA 45-29-74-0.5-5-0
D Matthews Clay USC 15-2-17-0-3-0
D Martin Orion Virginia Tech 30-28-58-6.5-10.5-0
E Knight Ezekial Alabama U 34-30-64-3-11-2

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