By Trevor Enerson, CycloneFanatic.com’s recruiting guru
What he is: Rivals.com lists Sam as a 6-foot-1, 185-pound quarterback out of Winter Park, Fla. I really think that this listing is out of date. He looks much taller than that in his senior highlights. My guess would be that he is around 6-foot-3 right now, unless he has a very short offensive line. Late last year, Sam was also honored as Central Florida’s Offensive Player of the year by The Orlando Touchdown Club. He won this award over Dee Hart and Jeff Driskel. Go ahead and look those two guys up on Rivals. That’s pretty solid company, not to mention beating them out.
What he does: Sam is a dual threat quarterback. He’s not Tom Brady and he’s not Denard Robinson. It looks to me like he is a better thrower of the ball than runner, but when it’s time to use his legs, he does it well. In his highlight videos, there are some option plays where he keeps but for the most part, he would much rather throw the ball.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Sam’s biggest strength right now is his accuracy. He throws the ball on the money. He doesn’t just do it standing in the pocket either. As I watched the highlights, I was impressed by his ability to escape pressure and make an accurate throw on the run. His eyes are constantly looking for receivers and he does a nice job of creating plays when everything breaks down. His footwork is also very good for a kid his age. As for weaknesses, he doesn’t have an incredibly strong arm. It is certainly sufficient but he won’t blow you away with velocity just yet. He makes all the throws and he puts the ball in tight places, but it’s do to his accuracy, not a cannon arm. He also isn’t incredibly quick. Most of the times, when he took off to run it was a straight line run. His top end seems to be decent but he’s not going to make a lot of people miss at the next level. The reason I think he was an effective runner in high school was his ability to sell the fake and take off.
What’s in store: I think right now we could just as well write down Sam as a redshirted guy. With four guys already in the quarterback hunt, there is little to no chance that he will ever see the field. After next year though, all bets are off. I see him as a contender for the starting spot in 2012. I think he’s the best quarterback that the Cyclones have brought in under this staff and I think with his polish to this point and little coaching up in a redshirt year, he could steal the position. The more reasonable outlook though, is to look for him to challenge Jared Barnett when Steele Jantz and Jerome Tiller are gone. This kid could end up doing some very special things for the Cyclones.
He looks to me like: Well, he sort of looks like Steele Jantz, but plays similar to Kellen Moore in that he seems to have a great feel for the pocket and very good escapability.