Sept. 12, 2003
It was like a dream come true. Having never played in a collegiate game, redshirt freshman Shelton Sampson heard his name called with 5:26 to go in the third quarter last Saturday, the Huskies leading Indiana by a slim 17-13 margin. Did Sampson crack under the pressure? Of course not. Instead, he cracked a hole in the left side of the Hoosiers' defense and sprinted through it for a six-yard TD. Not four minutes later, the Tacoma, Wash., native finished off his second collegiate drive with another score, taking an option pitch four yards around the right end for his second TD of the day. GoHuskies.com correspondent Jordan Roy-Byrne talked to Sampson on Monday about his big game, and what it means for the future.
GH: You scored two touchdowns in your first four carries! Is this streak going to continue?
Shelton Sampson: (Laughs) "It came as a surprise, scoring so soon, but I just want to do whatever is best for the team. If that's scoring (laughs), I'll go with it!"
GH: After two games, you have as many touchdowns (2) as Reggie Williams. What are your thoughts on that?
Sampson: "It's a great experience to be able to go out there and play. I loved getting out there and getting some experience under my belt. I'd feel the same way if I didn't score. I just enjoy being able to run the ball and play."
GH: You have gained 20 pounds of muscle while training hard with strength coaches Pete Kaligis and Steve Emtman. Talk about their impact on not just yourself, but the entire team.
Sampson: "I ate right and worked very hard. We spend as much time with them as we do with the coaches. They push us real hard and they've been through what we are going through, so they know what's best for us."
GH: You missed some time in camp due to migraine headaches. How are you dealing with that?
Sampson: "We were trying to figure out something that would work. A few weeks ago I started taking a new medicine at night. At first it didn't work, but the last two weeks I haven't had any headaches."
GH: So they are not that much of a problem anymore?
Sampson: "Yeah, I think not. I think we have them cured."
GH: That's good to hear. I recently talked to ET (Charles Frederick) and he said you were the best rapper on the team.
Sampson: (Laughs) "We always play around and we don't take it too seriously. Every now and then I try to freestyle. We have a lot of fun with it."
GH: How's Kenny James as a rapper? As classmates and tailbacks, are you guys close?
Sampson: "Me and Kenny are real cool. We consider each other brothers. We live together, so we spend a lot of time with each other. He's a real cool dude. He knows, along with me, that this is just the start of our careers, so it's been a great beginning for both of us."
GH: I read in your bio that you were a member of the National Honor Society. How do you balance school and sports?
Sampson: "Grades! (laughs). I take grades pretty seriously. I knew it was something that had to happen, as far as academics. I was also ASB President. I was always involved in school. I just tried to make a difference."
GH: That's quite a list of extra-curricular activities. So, now in college, do you consider yourself an intellectual scholar?
Sampson: "In college you have to be an intellectual scholar. Everyone speaks the college-slang, so you have to be up on your game (laughs). I think I'm still doing the same amount of work."
GH: Did you know our mascot, Harry the Husky, has been named an All-American? Your thoughts on Harry's chances to be Mascot of the Year.
Sampson: "Hey, Harry. If you are out there - go get 'em! (Laughs)"