Around the discus ring at the state track and field meet last weekend at Jefferson County Stadium, it wasn’t difficult to find Jalen Sami.
Sami is a mountain of a young man who hopes to one day be a rock in the middle of Colorado’s defensive line. He signed his letter of intent with CU in February as part of the Buffaloes’ 2017 football recruiting class.
Prior to joining the Buffs, however, Sami put the finishing touches on his prep athletic career at Vista Ridge High School, placing 12th in the discus and seventh in the shot put in Class 4A.
“I probably could have done better,” Sami said after finishing the discus. “There’s always room for improvement, but I’m pretty excited for CU.”
When exactly Sami gets to CU is unknown, however.
At 6-feet, 5 ¾ inches and 345 pounds, Sami looks ready to take the field and be a run stuffer for the Buffs right now, but he might actually wait until January to join the team as a gray shirt (which means he would delay enrollment and his scholarship would not count toward the NCAA’s 85-scholarship limit in 2017).
Sami turned 18 on May 6, so he’s on the young side of his graduating class and could probably use the extra time to mature physically.
Sami said he’s fine either way – in fact, he’s already got a plan to work out with his uncle in Hawaii during the fall if he does gray shirt – but is certainly eager to join the team.
“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “It’s one my goals to go D-I and be a part of an actual D-I college and play in Colorado, where I was born and raised. It’s a blessing pretty much.”
Sami, who was a late bloomer in the recruiting process, said he likes CU’s use of the 3-4 defense and how he can contribute as a nose tackle.
“I’m excited about it because the base (defense) that they do, the drills that they’ve done, it’s pretty much what I do during games,” he said. “(The coaches talked about) how I could be a big factor if I just do my job and get in the weight room and stuff. Can’t wait to see what happens.”
At 345 pounds, Sami is quite a bit heavier than last fall, when he played at around 315-320 pounds. He said the added weight is a combination of building muscle and adding calories, but said he’s not too worried about it right now.
“I think 350 should probably be my max, but I’d like to lose fat and gain muscle,” he said. “I’ve been in the weight room a lot and trying to change my diet. My mindset is, as long as I can run as fast and jump – I can still dunk a (basketball) – as long as I can do that and maintain it, I should be OK. When I get to college they’ll change it.”
When he gets to CU, Sami might even try to continue with track and field.
“If I could, yes,” he said. “It all depends on situations and if it works out with the football team.”