- April 3, 2019
For Foundation Academy senior and linebacker Sam Zagame, committing to the United States Military Academy at West Point was an easy and fast decision.
“Army has been one of the schools in my mind for a while,” he said. “So when they offered, it only took three days for me to get committed.”
For a while, Sam Zagame had known that he wanted to pursue the opportunity of playing college football and — if possible — play in a Division I college. When he received the offer from West Point, he didn’t think too much about it. He — along with his family — had already done the research.
“The football program is great, coach (Daryl) Dixon and I did a Zoom call, and he showed me the facilities,” Sam Zagame said. “It’s also a top-notch program and the best of the best. The stadium is beautiful; it’s around the Hudson River.”
Besides the football facilities at West Point — The Michie Stadium which fits about 38,000 people, a 20,000 square-foot-weight room and a nutrition bar — what also caught Sam Zagame’s eye was the type of defense the Army Black Knights run.
“They run a 3-4 defense, so it’s a run-heavy defense, and that’s what we’ve done here at Foundation for the last few years,” he said. “We run it a little different, but we’ve always been running a heavy defense. I think I’m going to fit perfectly with their defensive style.”
Foundation Academy head football coach Andre Walker is excited to see Sam Zagame play at the next level and is looking forward to see ing where his collegiate education — and football career — take him.
“Sam, to say the least, pretty much was the catalyst to our team,” he said. “It fits that he will be going to a school like that; the school suits him, I think it’s a solid fit. He’s a phenomenal football player but not just a football player, a (phenomenal) person. … He will work out very well in the defense that they provide, he loves to attack, and that’s what they do. As far as career-wise, you can’t ask for a better finish.”
On top of football however, West Point will offer much more to Sam Zagame — it will continue to hone in his leadership skills.
“I asked the Lord to give Sam an opportunity that would be excellent for him,” his mother, Jennifer Zagame, said. “He’s so excited about the football program and the opportunity there. It fits his character and leadership that we know he already has displayed as a young man but, he is going to be growing into that and be taught by a phenomenal group of mentors there, so it really does fit every single aspect that we prayed about.”
After a long road in the recruitment process journey — and talking to several schools — Sam Zagame feels certain his decision will bring him myriad new experiences and will mold him into a better human being by the time he is ready to graduate.
“I’m looking forward to the tight knit group of guys that I’m going to be with,” he said. “(There) everyone has each other’s backs.”
Sam Zagame’s commitment to West Point also brings with it a five-year service term at the end of his college education, which will serve to place him within one of the 17 existing military branches, and even though he is unsure of what branch he’d like to go into, Sam Zagame is excited to become the next member of his family to serve his country.
A FAMILY OF SERVICE
With his decision of committing to West Point, Sam Zagame is following both his grandparents’ (Thomas Frick and Joe Zagame Sr.) footsteps — as they both served their country as part of the military back in the 1960s.
“I am so proud that Sam will be going to West Point,” Joe Zagame Sr. said. “He has worked so hard to become a great football player and a leader of his team. He will bring this same dedication to his time at West Point and will make a great soldier.”
Frick and Joe Zagame Sr. didn’t go to West Point. Instead, they both enrolled at the ROTC at their respective universities — Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Syracuse University, respectively.
For their first assignment as part of the military service, Frick and Joe Zagame Sr. were stationed at Fort Lee in Prince George County, Virginia.
“They became fast friends,” Jennifer Zagame said. “They stayed in touch through the years.”
An important lesson Joe Zagame Sr. learned through his years in the military — from January 1963 to 1965 and four years as part of the army reserve — was how important the military is and that leadership skills are necessary in order for it to work.
“Sam has been chosen to be at West Point, because he has showed he is a leader and a person of fine character,” he said. “His time at West Point will strengthen these traits and make him a part of a historic legacy of military greatness.”
Not only are Sam Zagame’s grandparents excited and proud of his achievement, but the entire family is.
“It’s such an honor,” Jennifer Zagame said. “We want him to be looked at of course as a football players but also as a person with leadership skills and intellectual capabilities that could be challenged and grown, and we just feel like this entire fit is really a fantastic package for Sam.”
When Joe Zagame Sr. found out his grandson will become part of West Point, he was overwhelmed with excitement.
“I don’t usually show my emotions, but when I got the news that (Sam) would go to West Point, I was flooded with tears of joy,” he said. “I love our country, and I’m proud that Sam will be part of the best military in the world.”
“I’m excited to follow in their footsteps,” Sam Zagame said about his grandparents. “I think it’s going to be great.”
To show his commitment, Sam Zagame signed a Letter of Intent early at his home Wednesday, Dec. 21, surrounded by his family.