January 22, 2009

Texas LB won't be deterred

George Bamfo laughs when people say he's too small to patrol the defense for a Division I-A program.

"People think that stuff matters," Bamfro said. "But I've never seen any time when your height helped you make a tackle."

The three-star linebacker out of Rockwell (TX) Heath is generously listed as 6-0, 200 lbs. While he says he's every bit of 200 pounds, he admits he's a bit under that magical six-foot mark that hypnotizes college recruiting coaches.

"I feel bad for those schools," Bamfo scoffed.

He's known as "Black Smoke" by his teammates, and he plays like he's on fire. One viewing of his highlight tape proves that Bamfo has a nose for the ball.

"I'm explosive," Bamfo said, stating the obvious. "I like to get in the backfield and wreak havoc. I love to hit."

Since he qualified academically by scoring an 18 on the ACT, a whole new world of recruiting opened for Bamfo. Schools like Stephen F. Austin and Portland State have made way for Texas Tech, Auburn, and Missouri.

"Missouri showed some interest," Bamfo said on Wednesday night. "But they didn't offer. They said they were pretty much full on scholarships, and at the linebacker position."

Missouri's loss will be someone's gain. While many question his size, few can question his heart.

"He's a hard-working athlete," teammate, and recent Missouri recruit, Kendial Lawrence said. "He's dedicated. We lifted together in the summer every day, and we still lift together now."

Lawrence cited his teammate's performance in power-lifting competitions as an indicator of his motivation.

"I started doing that my sophomore year," Bamfo said. "Coach told me to come along, and I started to really like the competitive side of it. To show that you're stronger than everyone else."

Recently, Bamfo placed second in the 198-lb class at the Royce City Bulldog Invitational, lifting a combined 1,050 lbs.

Bamfo credits the difficulties he's already faced in life as another reason why he'll suceed.

"I was born in Ghana, and came here with my three older sisters when I was 12," Bamfo said. "That was really difficult, and I had to learn fast, in the classroom and in sports. I didn't know how to play a lot of these sports, so I played whatever my friends did. That's how I started to play football."

While Lawrence is trying to convince his teammate to join him on the road north to Columbia, it's probably a long-shot.

"He wouldn't mind going to Mizzou," Lawrence said. "But there's only so much I can say. It's got to be his decision."

Bamfo is visiting Texas Tech this Friday, and is planning a visit to Auburn after that.

Lawrence says that where ever Bamfo goes, he's going to make an impact.

"He can play Big 12 football, no doubt," Lawrence said adamantly. "He scraps for it. He's going to go get you, it doesn't matter how big he is or how big you are."

Lawrence, perhaps trying to entice his teammate to go to Missouri, compares him to Missouri's Sean Weatherspoon. Bamfo, however, prefers another comparison.

"I like to think I play like (Florida's) Brandon Spikes," Bamfo said. "He plays sideline-to-sideline, and is physical.

"That's what being a linebacker is all about."

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