NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — From All-State to Florida State.
New Bern High School junior defensive lineman Keith “K.J.” Sampson gave a verbal commitment to Florida State on Saturday during his visit to the team’s first day of spring practices. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound junior, regarded as one of the best players in North Carolina and the country, chose the Seminoles over a host of schools, including Clemson, N.C. State, Ohio State and South Carolina, which he recently listed as his top five along with FSU.
Sampton tweeted Saturday afternoon, “I have verbally committed to Florida State!! Go Noles!!”
“First I want to give all glory to God for helping me with my recruitment and leading me in the right path throughout this whole process. I want to thank my coaches, family and friends for helping me and supporting me. With that being said I would like to say I have verbally committed to Florida State University!!! Go Noles!!!”
Sampson began to gain notice from colleges as a freshman, putting up gaudy numbers that included 52 tackles, four for loss, and 2.5 sacks as a freshman. He had 107 tackles during his last two seasons with 22 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, according to Si.com.
He helped the Bears to a 10-2 record and a spot in the second round of the state playoffs this past season after finishing with 62 total tackles, 14 solo, and seven sacks in eight games.
“As soon as I got here, everything about everybody just felt good,” Sampson said to Brian Dohn of 247Sports.com. “There are a whole bunch of good people here. There’s good people all around. (Defensive line) coach Odell (Haggins), the way he made me feel about the whole recruiting process, and then coach (Mike) Norvell put the topping on the cake.
“And then practice today, it confirmed it all. I kind of already knew, but I just needed confirmation.”
247Sports.com has Sampson listed as the No. 16 defensive lineman in the country, the No. 2 player in North Carolina and the No. 130 player nationally.
247Sports.com also reported that Sampson was scheduled to make visits to several other colleges but said he does not anticipate making any of them anymore.