What Happened To Sammie Long “Just Business”?

by Dirk Knudsen | Posted on Thursday, January 17th, 2013

He was the top wide receiver in the Northwest this off season and showed many colleges and coaches what he could do.  It was obvious.   A 6’4″- 200 pound sprinter with incredible hands who loved to catch that football.

Sammie Long of Lakes HIgh School was offered by the UW Huskies.  So he committed.  But that was not honored by the UW in the end.

Sammie Long of Lakes HIgh School was offered by the UW Huskies. So he committed. But that was not honored by the UW in the end.

Sammie Long was the toast of the town when he landed the big offer from his home town school; the University of Washington.

Go Dawgs!

And being a top in-state kid in the Class of 2013 he was an important kid for the UW to land.   Partly because of his standing at the top of his class and mostly because getting him was a form of “Damage Control”  after the Huskies failed to land any of the top 5 in-state recruits in the class of 2012 including two All Americans from Lakes High School where Sammie is from.  Namely Zach Banner (USC) and Cedric Dozier (Cal).

When Sammie decided to be a Dawg by pledging himself to the school it made the news.  Sports analyst Bob Condotta of the Seattle-Times was happy to report that Long in fact was the first in State  commit for the Huskies and he commented on the importance of that in his piece on May 27th Lakes Receiver Sammie Long Makes First Commitment to Washington-  He wrote:

Still, Long’s commitment may have symbolic significance because he is the first for UW’s Class of 2013 and attends a talent-rich school that a year ago sent its two top players elsewhere. Offensive tackle Zach Banner signed with USC and receiver Cedric Dozier with California.

The losses of Banner and Dozier had UW looking largely out of state to bolster its Class of 2012.

Getting Long is an early UW strike at re-establishing recruiting dominance in the state, though the class is not considered as strong as last year’s. The exception is quarterback Max Browne from Skyline of Sammamish, who is considered maybe the best at his position in the nation. Browne may decide later this spring and is considering several schools, including Alabama and USC, along with UW.

That was in May.  Long shut down his visits and got ready for the season.   He picked up offers from Utah, Idaho, Colorado State, Montana and Eastern Washington so he had other choices.

I want you to think about that.  Had choices.

Now having said all of that you Recruits and you Moms and Dads and Coaches too… listen up.

Sammie was informed in December that his spot at the University of Washington was no longer available.  That means he no longer has an option to play there.  And while he gave his pledge verbally the Huskies were not able to keep theirs.

There is no easy way to say this but they sort of screwed him over.  And I like the Huskies a lot.

No law or NCAA regulations forbid this sort of thing.  It is merely bad form.  And it says something about the way schools carry themselves and what their word is worth.   More then words these sort of things are the actions that speak louder then the words.

“This is how we do things,” whisper the War Room walls.

Relax because it’s business.

Chip Kelly was gone.  Then no…wait… he was back and all the boys and fans sighed a big sigh of relief.    Then Woops!  No he is gone.  By Ducks hello Eagles.

Again.  It’s business.

It is hard to see this one happening to a Blue Chip kid like this but the Huskies must have their reasons.   There is no doubt they needed to mend their fences with many of the top schools in State.   But more then any it was with  Lakes, Long’s school, where they had the most fence mending to do.  Well it is fair to say the Bull is out of the barn and the fences are down.

Coach Dave Miller is not happy.  Long is not happy.  And his team mates including guys like the human highlight Benning Potoae are likely not very.  And Benning is on all the All American Watch lists and could be one of the biggest recruits in the Nation in two seasons.

Other coaches at the best High School programs in the State are saying this was not good.  And it worries some of them too.   And a top 3 player for 2014 is already saying this is sealing it for him.  UW worries him.

To be fair this is not just UW.  It is happening all over the Nation.  The Beavers just had the same thing happen with top in state linemen Skyler Phillips of Churchill High School and good old Lane Kiffen just lost one of the Top Players in the Country for USC in Defensive End Kylie Fitts because he went back on his promises to the kid.

All just business.  Right.

Because schools can not comment on athletes they are recruiting we will never know why the Huskies did what they did.   And when these things happen it is usually chalked up to bad grades,  player conduct, or something bad on the players part.  But was that the reason or is it just more likely the Dawgs have too many offers out and maybe just don’t love Long that much anymore?

“We have no true understanding (why it happened) .  Coach Miller says it’s because they felt they found better talent and he said that this doesn’t usually happen to where they have commits like that,” said Long.

Was it anything Sammie did?

“No.  It was not due to grades or School (related problems).   I had minor injuries which prevented me from having a major year but I believe I still had a really good year,”  he added.

With two broken thumbs the majority of the year Sammie racked up 436 yards on 34 catches.   Not too shabby.   Maybe the Dawgs did get a top kid from out of State.  Still hard to see how they could afford to do this.

No doubt they need to and want to win.   But this one was a bitter pill to swallow.

But swallow it he has.  Long says he harbors no ill will but that he is left with little time to consider other schools and to see if the other offers he had are still out there.

After all his pledge to the Dawgs was solid and he was 100% off the radar and not engaging the other options.    Not showing any love means not getting any usually.

“Its just a business and now I am just looking for a place to call home.”

A Mature business like approach from a hard working kid from Lakes High School who learned the hard way that College Football is a business first and a sport second.

Because of his standing in the recruiting ranks Sammie is going to have options.  He says OSU and Cal are picking up interest.  And anyone watching him knows that this kid will shine once he is on a field with a top tier Quarterback.   So the big schools are moving in.   With his grades and transcripts all set he is ready to go and take some visits and make a decision by signing day if the fit is right.

We asked Sammie what it is that he wants schools to know about him now that he is a proverbial “Free Agent”.

Why should they recruit him?

“I just want schools to know I’m coming to work and play a role that would benefit my team and I’m not really worried about how close it is to home.”

So gang there it is.  A tough call by the UW Football program has put Sammie Long in a tough spot but he is a tough kid.

And tough kids like him man up and move on.

We think he is going to be an All Pac 12 level player.  And he has shown his loyalty and work ethic already and that should count as bonus points for him in the process.  Here is Sammie Long’s Film from 2012:  Watch Sammie Long

 

You new guys coming up for 2014 and 2015 pay attention.  This is a business and so you have to keep your options open even if your heart is only on playing for your favorite team.

And believe me they will understand.   It’s  Nothing personal.  Just business.

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Dirk is a lifelong resident of the Pacific NW; athlete and Merit scholar. He runs camps, clinics, and has been a sports writer and analyst for nearly a decade now; mostly with Rivals.com as the editor of OregonPreps and WashingtonPreps.com. Dirk is the founder of NWPR & BrainChampions.org; a charity for injured athletes suffering from Brain Trauma / Concussion. He is a father of three and married.

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  1. Brainchild says:

    Eastern Washington has shown they can make kids with Long’s kind of skills big-timers. Plus, with 3 great receivers leaving, he might have a chance to play a lot, early.

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