Named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Sam becomes the 33rd First-Team All-American in school history, the seventh at Mizzou for Head Coach Gary Pinkel, and the school's first defensive selection since former great Justin Smith in 2000. Sam ranked among the most disruptive defensive players in the nation this year, and his play was a key factor in Mizzou's surge into the top-10. He led the Southeastern Conference in both quarterback sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (18.0), ranking in the top-10 nationally in those categories.He was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press recently, and was also a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Lombardi Award and the Hendricks Award. He has 45 tackles in 13 games this season, including nine quarterback pressures, two pass break ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, which he returned 21 yards for a touchdown in a win at 7th-ranked Georgia in October."Wow, what a great honor, I'm really grateful to be selected and for our team to be recognized like this," said Sam. "It's been a really rewarding season, especially after what we went through a year ago, and I feel like this validates all of the hard work we put in and all of the sacrifices we made as a team. My name is on the award, but that wouldn't happen without everyone else pulling in the same direction together, and I want to thank all of my teammates and coaches for helping push me and for their support," he said.
Started nine times in 12 appearances and was fourth on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 quarterback sacks, while his four quarterback pressures ranked as third-most on the team ... Recorded his first career defensive touchdown on his first career fumble recovery, scooping and scoring from seven yards out against SELA ... Recorded five tackles, highlighted by 1.5 sacks against ASU Potentially changed the UCF game at the end of the first half with a huge sack ... The Knights had the ball on the MU 2-yard line, but Sam's sack ran the clock out, as UCF was out of timeouts and could not get the field goal unit on the field in time ... Posted five tackles, including 1.5 sacks against Alabama and forced a pair of fumbles, closing out a monster game ... Had two solo tackles and a quarterback hit in the Tigers' 33-10 win over Kentucky ... Posted one solo tackle, a sack of Tennessee's Tyler Bray for seven yards, in the Tigers' 51-48, four overtime win at Tennessee.
Continued his development into a key contributor, and ended with 29 tackles on the year, including 3.0 TFLs and 1.5 sacks ... Made one of the biggest defensive plays on the season when he intercepted a ball against Texas Tech inside the MU 5-yardline in the closing seconds of the game to preserve a win which made Mizzou bowl eligible Registered one tackle and a hurry in the season opener with Miami (Ohio) ... got his first career start against Western Illinois, where he recorded three tackles ... had an assisted tackle for loss against the Oklahoma Sooners in week four ... had three tackles, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of five yards, and a quarterback hurry against Iowa State ... had four tackles against Oklahoma State ... posted five tackles against Kansas, three solo and two assisted...
Developed into a solid contributor throughout the year, and made big enough impression to win 2nd-Team Freshman All-American honors by one national outlet ... Ended the year with 24 tackles, including 7.0 TFLs and 3.5 QB sacks while forcing 2 fumbles, grabbing 1 interception, blocking a kick and scoring a safety ... Made six tackles including 1.5 TFLs vs. McNeese State ... Blocked his first career punt against MSU ... Also recorded his first career safety in the game, picking up a sack and a forced fumble on the play Recorded his first career interception and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown, before the return was called back due to a penalty ... Made three tackles, including a pair of TFLs against Texas A&M ... Recorded three tackles, including one TFL, in the victory over Oklahoma ... Made two tackles, including a sack, against Nebraska ... Added a sack against KSU ... Had a pair of tackles against Kansas, including a sack.
Spent his first season as a Tiger working hard in practice and the weightroom while gaining a redshirt.
ESPN.com ranked him as the No. 75 overall defensive end prospect in the country ... Won First-Team All-District honors as a senior in 2008 as a defensive end, and also as an offensive lineman, and he was also named All-Houston Metro as a defensive end ... Was a First-Team All-District pick as a junior on both lines, as well, and took home First-Team All-District defensive line honors as a sophomore and freshman, additionally ... Also lettered in the sports of track and powerlifting, in addition to his football exploits ... High school coach - Gary Carney ...
Parents - Michael & JoAnn Sam ... Lists hobbies as fishing, hunting, pursuits that help him to enjoy life ... Chose Mizzou over Arizona State, Colorado State, Houston and Iowa State, among others.
- Rams make history; now it's time for football...The Rams are accustomed to making history. It may have been 68 years ago, but in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, the Rams signed the first black player in the so-called modern era, Kenny Washington. There had been blacks in the early years of the game, but they were banned after the 1933 season. The signing of Washington ended a 12-year stretch without black players. Told that fact, Sam said, "The Rams know what the hell they're doing."
Still, there were other opportunities to select Sam since the Rams had two picks in the sixth round and used two earlier seventh-round picks on other players. But as punters and small-college players went off the board, as well as players that the league didn't even have information on, and Sam's name wasn't being called, head coach Jeff Fisher believed it was time. A few picks before they would use their final two choices in the draft, Fisher had conversations with chief operating officer Kevin Demoff and owner Stan Kroenke and the decision was made along with general manager Les Snead. Said Fisher, "From a historic standpoint, I'm honored to be a part of that as Les and Kevin and Mr. Kroenke are. Again, Michael's a good football player and you guys would know if you paid much attention to the response by some of his new teammates, but they're pretty excited to have him in the building. "It was the right thing to do at the right time." Still, the Rams didn't select Sam for the positive headlines it would generate. They believe, even within a very competitive position group, that Sam can help make it better. Yes, as Sam knows, aside from the obvious storyline, whatever happens on the field will be all up to him. - The Sports Xchange
2016 Super Bowl