HOLLYWOOD — Sammy Micco Sanchez has been doing what needs to be done to increase his football profile.
The Fort Gibson (Okla.) High School standout, who is entering his senior year, attended football camps hosted by two colleges he would like to suit up for on autumn Saturdays. The first stop was Stillwater, Oklahoma for Oklahoma State University’s camp. Next up for the Seminole was the Jimbo Fisher Camp at Florida State in Tallahassee.
“If they want to play college football, they need to go these camps. Sammy always performs well at these camps,” Fort Gibson head football coach Greg Whiteley said.
In mid-June, Sanchez and his nephew, rising Fort Gibson freshman running back Julius Aquino, spent a few days on the Hollywood Reservation with Sanchez’s mom Alicia Cabal and stepdad Frank Cabal. Before heading to Tallahassee, Sanchez said the OSU camp was a positive experience.
“That went good,” Sanchez said. “We did [40-yard dashes], long jumps, lot of one-one-ones, running back and linebackers. Our 40 times were good. We both ran 4.6. I had the fastest time of linebackers; [Julius] had the fastest time of running backs.”
No doubt Sanchez’s performance should help boost the stock of the 6-foot-1 linebacker who expects to be around 220 pounds come Friday nights in Fort Gibson this fall.
“He’s such an impact player,” Whiteley said. “He’s as good as I’ve had. He’s an inside linebacker, captain of our defense. He’s our leader on that side of the ball.”
Performing well at the college camps is a critical part of Sanchez’s offseason, perhaps more so than other seniors because his junior season was hampered by an injury that limited his playing time.
“I’ve talked to a few colleges. I missed a lot of games last year. I haven’t had the exposure I should have, but it will be better this year,” Sanchez said.
That’s why Sanchez, who also plays fullback on offense, takes these camps seriously and tries to learn as much as possible.
“I learned how to be more aggressive with man-on-man coverage. It helped me with pass coverage,” he said.
In addition to the college camps and workouts at Fort Gibson, Sanchez said the weight room will be an important part of his summer.
“I’ve got to get bigger and my bones stronger,” he said.
Football will take a back seat for Sanchez and Aquino for a week in July. That’s when the speedy duo, who will be teammates on the football field and track in the upcoming school year, will compete for Team Florida at the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, which is expected to draw 5,000 indigenous athletes from throughout Canada and the U.S. Sanchez is a defending gold medalist in wrestling, having won a championship at the last NAIG in 2014. After a successful middle school career on the track, Aquino will make his NAIG debut in sprint races.