football Edit

Rutgers safety Hampton selected by the Saints in the 2019 NFL Draft

Former Rutgers football safety Saquan Hampton’s dream of being drafted and playing in the NFL is now a reality.

Hampton, who hails from Hamilton, N.J. by way of Nottingham High in Mercer County, was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the fourth pick in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Chris Ash dubbed Hampton a future “star” during the head coach’s first training camp with the Scarlet Knights. Hampton was just entering his sophomore campaign at that point.

Earlier this spring, Ash talked about Hampton, who he coached for three years in Piscataway.

“He’s definitely an NFL player. It’ll just be based on a team’s needs and how they see him. He’s got size, speed, and can play the game. He’s got football intelligence and make a team happy,” Ash said. “I’m happy for him and excited to see what his future holds. He worked extremely hard over the last three years. He had some setbacks with injuries but had a great senior year and kept working and grinding and believing in the process. Hopefully he’ll get a chance at the next level.”

At Rutgers, Hampton registered 177 total tackles (120 solo), 7.0 tackles-for-loss, five interceptions, 24 pass deflections, and one fumble recovery. The 6-foot-1, 209-pounder finished the season strong with three interceptions in the last four games, with two coming against Wisconsin.

He won the Homer Hazel Award as the team’s MVP, was picked as an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten member, and was a co-captain in 2018 for the Scarlet Knights.

From his two interception day to now, Hampton’s stock rose. The former three-star recruit participated in the NFL Combine and practiced during the week at the East-West Shrine Game as well.

Hampton’s versatility, skillset, and leadership will do him good at the next level

“He played a lot of man for us and what I want them to understand is the kind of range he has. He ran a great 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, which we knew he would, and he can go sideline to sideline,” Rutgers safeties coach Noah Joseph said.

“Last year, we didn't use him in that role. He played some man on the slot. I want them to understand is he can do that. He cares, he’s a kid who can learn, and he’s a kid who will work and make a coach and team proud to have him.”

Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.