The sixth player on my list is JUCO DL, Caleb Sampson.
Sampson played with Coahoma C.C. last year in Clarksdale, Miss. and recorded 28 total tackles, 5.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in just eight games. He chose Kansas over offers from Houston, UTEP, South Alabama, UTSA and Western Kentucky.
One of the key areas this year for Kansas football is the defensive line. They lost key contributors in Isi Holani, Brian Lipscomb, J.J. Holmes and Daniel Wise. It goes without saying those are some big shoes to fill, especially that of Wise.
But after landing JUCO prospects in Sampson and Malcolm Lee, another JUCO DL, that transition looks to be a little smoother.
I originally had Lee rated above Sampson but switched their rankings after Lee was arrested for an alleged DUI. He appears to still be with the team and is even participating in Fall Camp, so it’s unclear what punishment, if any, he’ll face.
Either way, Sampson will have a chance to start right away and has the size and talent to be a real force. He stands at 6’3” and weighs 280 lbs.
For being a big guy Sampson can really get through the line quickly. His aggression and tenacity remind me a little of Wise. Not saying he’s as good, because that would be a high honor, but he has that same attack mentality.
He’s also strong against the run which Kansas will absolutely need this year. Sampson’s size will allow him to take up a lot of space on the line working well with the new 3-4 defensive scheme Kansas plans to run this year.
I also like Sampson’s patience on the defensive line. He’s not always in attack mode and knows when to hold back and be patient which shows he has a high football IQ.
I’m not predicting Sampson will necessarily start right away, but I’m certain he’ll get plenty of playing time. My guess is he’ll have about 15 tackles, a few for loss, and roughly two sacks. I would even guess he’ll get a fumble recovery or two.
There’s no doubt Sampson will get his opportunities on the DL early and often, but I’m confident he’ll take advantage of every one of them.