DT Keith Sampson Jr. (6-3 285) of New Bern, NC Saturday named a top five of USC, Clemson, NC State, Ohio State and Georgia. But Tuesday he made a list adjustment replacing Georgia with Florida State. And though not named in his top five, Duke is still in play as well.
Sampson is seeing several of his favorites this month. Last Saturday he was back at USC. He camped there last June and was on hand for the Auburn game last season. He knows a lot about the football side of things with the Gamecocks, and this visit allowed him to learn more about what makes the program tick.
“It was about football but at the same time it wasn’t about football,” Sampson said. “We got the chance to get more in-depth with the players. We had a chance to do a whole Q&A with the players. We got the chance to get more in depth with the nutritionist and the strength coaches. It was a good chance to see other parts of the program besides football.”
Sampson has been a major target of USC coach Shane Beamer and defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey. He caught up with both on his visit Saturday and talked more with Lindsey on the phone Tuesday.
“He was saying how they would use me as a combo guy so I could play pretty much anywhere on the D-line,” Sampson said. “Depending on the package I could be anywhere from a one technique to a five technique. Just depends on what the defense is.”
Sampson said he also remains in touch with USC recruiter Montario Hardesty who is a native of New Bern and, of course, a local football hero.
Sampson will make two visits this weekend, NC State on Saturday and Duke on Sunday. Coaches from both programs, including NC State head coach Dave Doeren, visited him Tuesday. The following weekend he will be back at Clemson. He attended the Tigers recruiting event in late July.
“Clemson has always been a school that I really liked,” Sampson said. “They offered late but I just knew what their process was and they kept me in the loop. With coach (Todd) Bates leaving, it affected things because I was building a relationship with him, but it didn’t affect my overview on Clemson. Coach (Lemanski) Hall was recruiting me anyway, so I was building a really good relationship with Coach Hall. I plan to talk to (Nick Eason) sometime in the upcoming day or probably when I go up there.”
Sampson said he also will take a visit to Florida State this first weekend in March. Otherwise, he’ll be working to get healthy after injuring his wrist and shoulder last season.
Sampson said he plans to take his five official visits in the fall before making his decision.