Burgeoning Bergen prepares for senior year

East Stroudsburg South High School linebacker Sam Bergen has bounced back from a torn ACL that ended his junior year prematurely -- with what fans of Stanford football would refer to as enthusiasm unknown to mankind ("EUTM"). With his grueling seven-month rehabilitation nearing an end, Bergen has started training for his senior year with renewed effort and determination.

"[This summer] I'm just working harder than I ever have before," Sam Bergen said. "I'm going to have to be in great shape this season and I will be. I just need to dominate, and I'm planning on it."

With his knee now "around, if not at, 100 percent," Bergen has been able to display his full array of talents to college recruiters at football camps across the country.

"I've been to Pitt, Illinois, Northwestern, Michigan, Stanford and Rutgers, and I was just at MSU this weekend," Bergen said. "I've been getting good feedback from the coaches. They said they were impressed with how I performed and how well my knee has come along."

Still, Bergen has yet to receive any scholarship offers, largely because of lingering concerns over the condition of his knee.

"With an injury like this, I completely understand that they need to make sure they get someone who's going to be ready to play for them," Bergen said. "I think after the first few games, I'll have a few offers on the table."

Bergen thinks that the schools most likely to offer are Rutgers, Illinois and Stanford, but that he doesn't have any favorites at this time.

"Right now I like all the schools I've been to at the camps this summer," Bergen said. "I don't really feel like I can narrow it down until I see who's really interested, so I like all the schools I've been to this summer."

Fortunately for Bergen, he hasn't had to endure the ups and downs of the recruiting process alone. Sam's older brother Max went through the recruiting process himself several years ago, and now finds himself a Stanford linebacker, and likely key contributor on this year's squad.

"I think he's done really well," Sam said. "He's a really great player. He's the fastest linebacker on the team, I believe, and he's been kind of an inspiration to me. I've been trying to do as good, if not better, than him my entire life, and he just is a good role model."

In large part because of Max's two plus years spent on The Farm, Sam has gotten to know the Stanford coaches and program very well. Sam is being recruited by linebackers coach Andy Buh, and has a positive relationship with the entire coaching staff.

"It's been great," Sam said of his rapport with the Stanford coaching staff. "Of course, with my brother out there, I've known the coaches for a few years now so I have a good relationship with them and the program."

But no matter where he ends up playing his college football, Sam thinks he will be able to help a team through his speed and toughness.

"I would bring some hard hits, I can read pretty well and I also have good speed," Bergen said. "I think I would bring a lot of those aspects to the team.

Should Bergen be given the opportunity to bring those talents to Stanford, he is confident that he would pass through the school's rigorous admissions process.

"I have a 4.0 and I'm very good academically," said Bergen, who scored a 1200 on his two-part SAT,. "I have all A's and a few B's, and I'm pretty smart."

Bergen reports a 40-yard dash time of 4.61 seconds and reportedly benched 225 pounds 20 times, which compares favorably to many performances in the NFL Combine. Neither Scout nor Rivals have yet to evaluate him.


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