Wide Receiver Samuel Akem is a player many fans of professional football haven’t gotten an opportunity to witness him play. That is about to change in the 2023 season. Signed by the Philadelphia Stars, and a head coach in Bart Andrus who shares an alma mater with Akem.
Samuel Akem was a prolific receiver during his time at Montana. He might be one of the most prolific receivers ever to grace the university. During his time with the school, he played in 47 games, while dealing with a covid shortened 2020 season allowing him to play in just two games. Despite this, and the fact that he wasn’t a starter as a freshman, Akem finished as the only receiver in the top five all-time for receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
Unfortunately, if not for a late collarbone injury in 2021 that he was still suffering through at the NFL combine, Akem might be on an NFL roster right now. Standing 6’4 220 pounds coming out of college, he managed just 3 reps in the 225 lb bench press at the combine, just weeks later he would put up 14 reps of 225 lbs at his pro-day after healing. This showcased his ability to get physical with smaller defensive backs and shows he has the requisite strength to be a key blocker in the run game as well.
Some teams spotted his 4.69 40-yard dash and asked that he move to tight end, this included teams within the XFL showcase circuit, which he pursued before signing with the USFL. The thing is several receivers have run slower and still gone on to very productive NFL careers. A great example is Keenan Allen who ran a 4.72 at his combine, Jerry Rice posted a 4.71, Anquan Boldin a 4.71, Larry Fitzgerald and Cris Carter both put up 4.62 40s, and these are some of the greatest wideouts of all time.
What should have been more important was his consistent production in college, and his ability to play through injury to help his team. Another factor should have been his production. Catching 191 passes for 2,711 yards and 29 touchdowns in 47 games are very solid numbers at any school. Averaging over 14 yards per reception at the college level, in my personal opinion showcases an ability to get yards after the catch, regardless of how you feel about his top-end speed.
After missing out on the NFL coming out of college, Akem had to wait a season before he got his first opportunity in a professional football league. This contract offer would come from the Philadelphia Stars and was announced on September 17th, 2022.
He now will be tasked with competing with several receivers returning from the 2022 season, including Jordan Suell, Diondre Overton, Devin Gray, and Chris Rowland. This is a very talented receiver room, and it could end up being the best room in the league by the end of the season. Even with Maurice Alexander, and Bug Howard not returning, the Stars now have guys in Chris Rowland and Samuel Akem that can give them very similar players to work with.
I expect this offense to be very prolific once again in 2023, but just like with every other Stars article I have written as of late, we still have big questions about who else will fill out the quarterback room in Philly. Could Case Cookus, or Kj Costello return, or is Kevin Thomson the new QB1, and the Stars are simply looking at depth pieces now?
Check out the full interview with Samuel Akem below: