At the conclusion of last year’s disappointing 4-8 SDSU Aztec football season, wide receiver DeMarco Sampson had every reason to believe that his days of playing for the Red and Black were over. After all, he had already been granted a fifth year of eligibility due to the injuries that kept him off the field as an underclassman.
But when a recent ruling came down from the NCAA office, it left both the Aztecs and Sampson smiling with some unexpected great news. They learned that Sampson, a Second Team All-Mountain West Conference wide-out a year ago, had been granted a sixth year of eligibility.
That news, combined with Vincent Brown’s decision to delay his entry into the NFL draft pool until April 2011, gives the Aztecs what on paper looks like the best receiving tandem in the conference and one of the best in the nation.
A year ago, Sampson, the former Castle Park Trojan, led the Aztecs with 62 receptions for 851 yards and eight touchdowns. Imagine how many he might have with a healthy Brown drawing double coverage to the opposite side of the field and ever improving quarterback Ryan Lindley tossing him the ball. The thought of it harkens back to the glory days of Air Coryell.
With the bitter taste of last year’s late season collapse still on everyone’s mind (SDSU was 4-4 through its first eight games), the Aztecs were excited to get back to work for the upcoming season home opener Sept. 4 against Louisiana’s Nicholls State.
Sampson, for one, is ready to roll.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to play with VJ (Brown). He is at least one of the top 10 receivers in college football,” Sampson said. “Having him on the other side will leave the door wide open for me. We also have a lot of young guys coming up that are really good playmakers. Nico (Dominique) Sandifer is one of them. He did well for us last year and he has made some big strides. He is quicker, stronger and his hands have gotten a lot better. I am very excited to see him play this year.”
Having been on losing teams in each of his previous five seasons with San Diego State, Sampson and his teammates think that 2010 will finally be the Aztecs’ breakout year. No- nonsense head coach Brady Hoke is entering his second year at the helm and he has worked hard to rediscover the winning tradition that made Aztec football of the 1960s and 1970s fun and entertaining to watch.
Fielding a team that is bigger, stronger and deeper in talent should produce some results. While the Aztecs may still struggle against the traditional powerhouses on their schedule — TCU, BYU, Missouri and Utah — the remaining eight games should all be competitive.
San Diego State opens its 2010 season against Nicholls State on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium. For tickets, call 283-7378 or visit the Web site at www.goaztecs.com.
2010 College Football Schedules
4: Nicholls State at SDSU, 5 p.m.
11: SDSU at New Mexico State, 6 p.m.
18: SDSU at Missouri, 6 p.m.
25: Utah State at SDSU, 5 p.m. (KGB SkyShow)
9: SDSU at BYU, 4 p.m.
16: Air Force at SDSU, 5 p.m.
23: SDSU at New Mexico, 8 p.m.
30: SDSU at Wyoming, noon
6: Colorado State at SDSU, 7 p.m.
13: SDSU at TCU, 3 p.m.
20: Utah at SDSU, 7 p.m.
27: UNLV at SDSU, 5 p.m.
Note: home games at Qualcomm Stadium
Web site: goaztecs.com
4: Southwestern vs. Palomar (at Escondido High School), 6 p.m.
11: Southwestern at San Diego Mesa, 6 p.m.
18: Grossmont at Southwestern, 6 p.m.
2: Southwestern at Mt. San Jacinto (at Vista Murrieta High School), 6 p.m.
9: San Bernardino Valley at Southwestern, 6 p.m.
16: College of the Desert at Southwestern College, 6 p.m.
23: Southwestern at Orange Coast, 7 p.m.
30: Golden West at Southwestern, 6 p.m.
6: Southwestern at Santa Ana, 1 p.m.
13: Riverside at Southwestern, 6 p.m.
Note: home games at DeVore Stadium
Web site:www. swc.edu