Stars Out Of The Spotlight: Jamarca Sanford

Posted Feb 18, 2010

As we explained on Wednesday in introducing Benny Sapp as a star out of the spotlight, the point of this series is less about distinguishing a certain player as a star and more about recognizing their individual contribution to the 2009 season as important even though they weren’t often in the headlines.

Enter: Jamarca Sanford.

Sanford, a 5-10, 200-pound safety, appears in this series more for his special teams production than his play on the Vikings defense. Add in the fact that Sanford was a 7th round pick last April and his 2009 season becomes even more impressive.

The Vikings kick coverage units improved dramatically in 2009, a function of improved kicking from Chris Kluwe and Ryan Longwell in addition to the return of Heath Farwell from injury and the play of special teams standouts such as Husain Abdullah, Eric Frampton and Kenny Onatolu. But Sanford was also a crucial factor in the Vikings improved kick coverage.

Sanford impressed as early as the offseason program last summer and he definitely was on people’s radar during training camp. The SEC’s leading tackler during his 4-year career at Ole Miss, Sanford brought that aggressive play-making mentality with him to the Vikings and had it on display early and often. Ultimately, Sanford finished the 2009 season ranked 3rd on the team in special teams tackles with 19, and also added a forced fumble to the mix.

A 7th rounder playing in 15 games during his rookie season is notable. Perhaps Sanford would’ve made this series on his special teams contributions alone – he did have 3 games where he tallied 3 special teams tackles. But Sanford’s performance on defense made him a cinch for this series. He recorded 15 defensive tackles on the season, even starting 1 game for an injured Tyrell Johnson. In that game – a home contest against the Cincinnati Bengals – Sanford tallied 4 defensive tackles and added 3 special teams tackles as well.

Sanford’s 1st NFL season went just like his college career – lots of productivity but not a lot of time in the headlines. Not a bad player to have on your team.

Sounds a lot like a star out of the spotlight.

Previous 'Stars Out Of The Spotlight' Articles

Monday, Feb. 15 - C. Greenway

Tuesday, Feb. 16 - C. Kluwe

Wednesday, Feb. 17 - B. Sapp