After compiling a team-leading 127 tackles in 2017, Arizona State Sun Devils redshirt junior linebacker Christian Sam is expected to forgo his final season in Tempe and declare for the NFL Draft, Devilsdigest.com and SunDevilSource.com reported.
Sam did not practice fully during the team’s preparation for the Sun Bowl and will not play Friday against N.C. State in what is expected to be his last game with the program.
After playing in nine games as a freshman as a reserve, Sam made his mark as a sophomore, playing all 13 games and recording the second most tackles on the team with 96.
He was expected to make another leap in his junior season, but was sidelined after sustaining an injury in the season-opener against Northern Arizona and did not see the field again.
Despite the missed time, Sam returned to form as a senior, leading the Sun Devils with 127 total tackles, nine-and-a-half coming for a loss, including three sacks. He also intercepted a pass and forced a fumble.
Sam and senior DJ Calhoun formed a fearsome duo in the middle of the Sun Devil defense. But with both gone in 2018, those holes will have to be filled by the likes of redshirt sophomores Malik Lawal and Khaylan Thomas, amongst others, next season.
In his career, Sam made 240 tackles, including 17 for a loss, intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles.