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2013 NFL Draft Player Preview: USF LB Sam Barrington

The Bulls have made a habit of producing NFL linebackers. Is Sam Barrington next in line?


Sam Barrington is probably the last Bull in this year's senior class with a realistic shot of getting drafted. Most mock drafts that I've seen don't have Sam getting picked, but he's generally regarded as a late-round prospect who might sneak his way onto the board.

Here are Sam's measurables:

Position: Linebacker
Height/Weight: 6'1", 246 lbs.
40 Time: 4.91 at the combine, 4.69 at USF's pro day. Noticing a trend here?
Stats: Started 36 games over four seasons, including all but two games the last three seasons. 80 tackles, 6.5 TFL and 3.5 sacks in 2012, all career highs.

I think USF fans may have been a little spoiled when it came to Sam. The Bulls have had some big-time players at linebacker in their short history (Kawika Mitchell, Stephen Nicholas, Ben Moffitt, Tyrone McKenzie, Jacquian Williams, etc.), so when Jim Leavitt called Sam, then a three-star freshman, the best linebacker he'd ever seen, everyone had pretty high expectations for him.

Sam was certainly not the best linebacker in USF history, but he had a very productive career. He got on the field as a true freshman and grabbed the full-time starting role as a sophomore. He was versatile, bouncing between inside and outside linebacker at Skip Holtz's whim, but no matter where he was on the field he was always a leader on the Bulls' defense.

Sam had a knack for the big play (off the top of my head I can remember his forced fumble at the goal line against Nevada, his pick six to put away to UTEP game, and his forced fumble against West Virginia that almost won us the game. Man, we didn't win many games the last couple seasons, did we?) because he was built for it. He's an athletic, instinctive player who can just as easily cause havoc in the backfield as he can drop into coverage. He was a little small over his USF career, listed at 230 pounds, but he weighed in at 246 at the combine, which is certainly a good sign.

But I can't say he was always productive, because he wasn't. Sam can disappear for large chunks of games, and for all his talent, never really turned into the tackling machine that he could have been. When you heard Sam's name mentioned, it was usually a good sign-but you could go a whole game without hearing his name.

For what it's worth, Sam was also plagued by minor violations and suspensions throughout his career. Usually nothing more serious than driving-with-an-expired-license level, but it happened multiple times and caused him to miss multiple games. It's not a huge deal, but it's not something Bulls fans liked to see out of their senior leader in a season where they really needed any playmaker they had on the field.

I personally don't see Sam getting drafted, and I don't think most "experts" do either. But there are much worse players to take a late-round flyer on than Sam Barrington. He's an athlete and a playmaker who's seen substantial action at both linebacker positions. Most players with his kind of talent haven't put up his kind of numbers, and the few that have probably won't be available, as he will be, in the late rounds.

Here is some essential Sam viewing:

Sam career highlights