With the June recruiting period in full swing, Tennessee will host a new wave of official visitors this weekend. Geismar (La.) Dutchtown High School running back Dylan Sampson will take his second official visit of the month, as he is scheduled to arrive in Knoxville on Thursday night. The Bayou State standout previews his upcoming weekend in Knoxville with VR2 on SI here.
Sampson holds over 20 Division 1 offers, but a select group of schools, including Tennessee, Purdue, Lousiville, and Texas A&M.
"For one, speed always comes first," Sampson said about what coaches like about his game. "That is what people notice about me first. Most coaches have noticed that I play calm and that I have a good balance to do well once I get into the secondary. All are things I can improve on, but I believe those are my strengths. Even though I am not the biggest running back, I feel like I have a lot of power in my legs, so it is not as easy to bring me down. I feel like those are my strengths and what coaching staffs have told me over my recruitment."
One of the coaches building a solid relationship with Sampson is Jerry Mack, who the talented running back will get a chance to spend time with this weekend.
"It has been good," Sampson said about his growing relationship with Vols Running Back Coach Jerry Mack. "When they got in there, not much later, he contacted me after they re-evaluated me, and I was re-offered by the new staff. Since then, we have been in constant contact. He will FaceTime me or send me a message, so we have been building on that relationship, and I feel like it is pretty good."
"I have been in contact with Coach Heupel a good bit," Sampson added. "He might text me or shoot me a call to see how things are going. As far as the Tennessee coaching staff in general, I talked with them when they were at UCF, so I already had a little relationship with them."
Sampson has been impressed with the entire Tennessee coaching staff, including the transparency they have shown him.
"It really seems when they speak, it feels real," he said. "They don't really sugar coat anything. They are telling me about the situation they are in with what happened with the last coaching staff. They are keeping it real and being honest with me about everything that is going on. I just feel like that is true, and I hope I am going to get to experience that on the visit."
This weekend will provide his first opportunity to see the group in person, and he is looking forward to checking off some boxes with the Vols.
"One, it is just feeling a sense of the coaching staff," he said about what he is looking for. "Just feeling the energy around them is something I really want to do. Just trying to feel if it is genuine or not because you can tell. Then, feeling the energy in the locker room, getting around the players, and I want to ask the right questions and see if it is really. And getting to feel where I can fit in this offense is going to be important. Then just learning all about the program. It is all going to be good this weekend. I am excited."
Another aspect of the visit Sampson is looking forward to is connecting with the players.
"I feel like it is going to be very important," he said. "On my last visit (to Purdue), I was able to get with the players and ask some questions, and they kept it real with me. It will be good to get around the players and see what it is really like and know what is going on because aside from the coaches if anyone is going to know what is going on, it is the players. It will be good to have questions answered if those questions come up."
During his visit, he will look to refresh the options the Tennessee has to offer him academically, as the Vols have already done an excellent job of providing him with information virtually.
"I am most likely going to do Civil Engineer," Sampson said about his academics. "It is a major that requires a lot of work, and I have been over the academics with staff over zoom, but now it is going to be about seeing it in person and refreshing. As far as the stats and the statistics, how they run their academics, and academics support, we basically covered all of that already. It is just kind of me getting this second reminder of how they will do things in detail."
Sampson will take trips to Louisville and Vanderbilt in the coming month, and he could possibly squeeze in a trip to College Station to see the Aggies, after which he will likely start working towards making a decision.
"I always want to take my time and make the right decision," he said about his timeline. "I feel like if I get through these visit in the month of June, and I am feeling good about it, and the decision comes to me after I talk to my parents, then it is likely I will make my decision before I start my senior football season. I don't want to wait too late and miss out on an opportunity because they are looking at other running backs because I took too long to make a decision. I am hoping these visits open my eyes, and I feel like they present me with an opportunity to make my decision before the season."
Sampson has recorded a personal best 10.48 100m time, which typically equates to a sub 4.4 forty-yard dash time. Below is a look at his Junior season highlights.