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Senior Bowl Player Spotlight: Tulane DE Cameron Sample

The defensive lineman out of New Orleans’ Tulane, showed out during Senior Bowl week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 04 Armed Forces Bowl - Southern Miss v Tulane Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cameron Sample came into the week, like he spent most of his career, overlooked. Draft sites not listing him, no “Senior Bowl watch lists” shouting his praises, probably most of his teammates unfamiliar with his game. Did that discourage Cameron from working as had as he has been for his entire career? Not one bit. He put his nose down and took it out on whoever was in front of him. By the end of the week, he was drawing the attention of two offensive linemen at a time, IN PRACTICE. His performance was such a standout, that he was voted as the best defensive lineman by the people who would know best, those who he was lined up across all week. Going into the week, I didn’t expect him to have the impact he did, yet here I am writing an entire article spotlighting him. It could not have worked out better, as last week I had the opportunity to speak to Cameron, a grad assistant coach, and even Tulane head coach Willie Fritz about Sample’s play on the field and who he is off the field.

Who is Cameron Sample, the football player?

Every down, Sample plays like it will define his future. For a player that has faced so much doubt, it probably will. He is a defensive end that fits best in a 4-3 defense at the next level. He has great release, and uses power moves in fighting his blockers. He is not your insane athlete, but has the tools to be a great defensive lineman in multiple roles for defenses. On his coachability, Tulane Defensive Grad Assistant Andrew Neupert said, “Being able to work with Cameron was as good as it gets. His overall ability to defend the run and rush the passer really helped set a new standard for our group.” From a football standpoint alone, Sample seems like a guy that any NFL coach should want on their defense.

Who is Cameron Sample, the person?

All signs point to Sample being just as good off the field as he was on it. Neupert followed up his earlier quote by adding, “He is a guy you can always count on in all aspects of his life. Cameron is a leader, a hard worker, and most importantly he’s a great person. We’re all very excited and proud to see what he will accomplish in the future.” I also got to talk to Willie Fritz, head coach of Tulane, on the third day of practices. Fritz told me that Sample has always had a fire to compete, and has never been late by any means to any team event. He spoke very highly of Sample in all aspects. While his coach was likely to not say anything bad about him, the specificity he brought up shows that he truly meant it all.

Talking to Cameron after practice.

On day 2 of Senior Bowl practices, I was able to take advantage of media availability with Cameron and ask him some questions.

Myself: “How was your experience at Tulane?”

Cameron: “I loved it. All of the ups and downs, learned a lot of lessons, met a lot of good people. Overall a great experience.”

M: “What do you want to show this week?”

C: “I want to show my game translates. Some people might think that being from a smaller conference that it might not translate. Also I want to show my versatility along the defensive line, being able to play multiple positions.”

M: “What’s the best thing about your game that you don’t think people respect enough”

C: “I think my quickness, I’m quicker than a lot of people think. I think I’m violent with my hands. So I’m just coming out here every day and showing what I can do for these teams.

M: “How would you compare Atlanta and New Orleans?” (Sample is an Atlanta native)

C: “I would say Atlanta is more spread out. You know, New Orleans, everything is close together, right around the corner from each other. The roads are worse than Atlanta, the potholes and everything. The culture in New Orleans really shows. It’s unlike any place I’ve ever been. The people there, the traditions they’ve got between Mardi Gras, the Second Line, and all of it. It’s really special.”

How did Sample help himself this week?

Overall, I’m excited to see where his career goes. I think he has solidified his position as a draftable defensive end. The Senior Bowl was very important for him. With no combine, this week and pro days are more important than ever. He was able to stand out amidst many of the country’s seniors, trying harder than ever to make themselves known, and I don’t think you could’ve asked for more from him. No opportunities wasted this week.

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