Pleasant Hill (IA) Southeast Polk High Football is flush with college-level talent. Sometimes it’s easy to be overshadowed.
Class of 2023 Athlete Abu Sama is making his way into the light. He’s coming off a junior season that saw him earn first-team all-state honors from the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association as a running back who helped the Rams win the Class 5A state championship.
College scouts have taken notice. He visited Iowa Football for one of its bowl practices in December and returned this past weekend for a junior day.
“What I liked the most about visiting Iowa is when we got to speak to the players,” Sama told HF. “They gave me a lot of information that most high school athletes don’t get to hear when they’re going into college.”
Listed at 5-10, 185, Sama is being recruited by the Hawkeyes as a defensive back. Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska also are showing him interest.
“What I learned from the visit at Iowa that impressed me is when the strength coach (Raimond Braithwaite) took us down to the weight room and I got to see how advanced their equipment was. They have this tracker on the side of the bar and it can track how fast you are moving the bar while lifting, which is pretty cool to me,” he said.
Sama rushed 144 times for 931 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. As a cornerback, he totaled 20 tackles and recovered a fumble. He returned 12 punts for 124 yards and brought back two kicks for 60 yards.
Iowa’s lead in-state recruiter, Jay Niemann, spent time with Sama during the junior day. He also spoke with defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker with whom he sat in on a defensive backs meeting.
“When I went to coach Parker’s meeting room, I got to see a small bit of how he coaches. That 20-30 minutes of me just listing to him was crazy. I can tell he is one of the best DB coaches in the country,” Sama said.
He sees himself fitting well into the Hawkeye defensive system.
“I could be a big impact on the field because with coach Parker coaching me I would be able to know what’s going on on the field faster, before the play even starts. So I would be able to break on the ball quicker and stop the run immediately,” Sama said.
He looks forward to learning more about the Hawkeyes.
“Something that I would want to know about Iowa is probably getting to know coach Parker more and really seeing how he got to learn the game of football from a DB point of view,” Sama said.
Sama likely will major in Business when he gets to college. If that ends up being Iowa, he would be reunited with friend and Southeast Polk teammate, Xavier Nwankpa, a freshman with the Hawkeyes.
“I did not get to see Xavier at Iowa (junior day), but I heard he’s getting stronger, bigger and improving his skills,” Sama said.
Sama also stands out in track and field, popping a long jump of 24 feet at Tuesday Dickinson Relays.
Abu Sama goes 24’0” on his first long jump attempt.
That mark is the 7th best jump in state history! pic.twitter.com/l7eNEmtUBw
— SEPtrack (@SEPtrack) March 9, 2022