Huskies are expecting a breakout senior season from the tight end out of Newport High.
Eight days after his own wedding, Washington tight end coach Jordan Paopao was happy to sit back and watch Drew Sample take center stage for his wedding vows.
Sample, the Huskies’ fifth-year senior tight end, married Angelina Danylyuk of Puyallup on July 22 at Columbia Winery in Woodinville. All went according to plan on their big day, Sample said, and if all goes as the Huskies hope, it won’t be the last time this year he becomes the center of attention before a captivated audience.
Sample has been one of Jake Browning’s favorite targets in fall camp, and it’s not difficult to envision the 6-foot-5, 251-pound Newport High School product having the same sort of breakthrough senior season that propelled Will Dissly onto NFL scouts’ radar last fall.
“Drew is the prototype of a kid who you want who just works hard, doesn’t say much, and if you give him a task he finds a way to complete it to the best of his ability,” Paopao said. “He’s a very conscious player, a very cerebral guy. He really likes to know not only his job but how offensive plays function around him, and I think you’ve seen a guy who continues to excel because of his love of the game.”
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Sample found true love four years ago when he met Angelina, a student at Seattle Pacific. They decided to get married this summer, before Sample’s final season at UW, knowing how hectic their schedule could potentially be next year as Sample prepares for the NFL draft and tries to make a pro roster.
“It was nice,” Sample said. “We’d been dating for four years, and we both knew what we wanted.”
For their honeymoon, they spent a week in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and arrived back to Seattle a couple days before UW camp opened on Aug. 3.
“He’s always been an old soul ever since he was a true freshman, and I think it’s been awesome to see his development and see him grow,” Paopao said. “Obviously I love to see these guys develop on the football field, but to truly see these guys reach their potential in their personal life and get married — that’s what it’s all about.”
Sample is the lone upperclassmen at the Huskies’ talented but young tight-end position.
“I can’t even quantify what he’s meant to the leadership of the room,” Paopao said. “Every single day he is the model of what it should look like, from a professionalism standpoint to how you carry yourself to his maturity and how you interact with teammates. He’s always been that way.”
When reviewing game film, Paopao admitted he often mistook Dissly (who wore No. 98) for Sample (No. 88), and vice versa, when the tight ends played together at UW the past two seasons, often on the field at the same time in the Huskies’ various multiple-tight-end formations.
That looks more and more like a great compliment to Sample, who has a similarly versatile skill set as Dissly, drafted in the fourth round by the Seahawks and now, in Russell Wilson’s estimation, “one of the stars” of Seahawks’ camp.
Chris Petersen has said the tight-end position, behind the quarterback position, is the most demanding in the Huskies’ offense, and UW will lean on Sample’s experience.
“It’s really cool. They ask us to do a lot, so it’s a role we like to embrace in both the run game and the pass game,” Sample said. “I’m just trying to do everything I can to help this offense, and I know that’s something our group takes pride in, to do whatever the coaching staff asks of us.”