Maxwell Signs With New Orleans Saints

May 11, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It was about a year ago at this time, during 2009 spring practice, that former University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks predicted stardom for linebacker Sam Maxwell.

Having shared the strongside linebacker post with Johnny Williams in the 2006-08 seasons, Maxwell had the spot to himself during his senior year and definitely fulfilled Brooks’ forecast. Maxwell turned in an outstanding season in ’09 and will have an opportunity to play professional football after signing a free-agent contract with the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Despite being relatively unknown outside of UK prior to his senior year, Maxwell made a name for himself by earning second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors during his final season. He started all 12 regular-season games, totaling 80 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 quarterback sacks and caused two fumbles.

Most important were Maxwell’s six interceptions, most ever in one season by a Wildcat linebacker, along with seven pass breakups. He tied for the SEC lead for interceptions per game and was sixth in the league in total passes defended per game, remarkable feats for a linebacker.

Maxwell got his breakout season started early. He nabbed an interception late in the 31-27 win over Louisville and knocked down a pass on the final play of the game to preserve the win over the Cardinals. He had a then-career best 10 tackles in the upset win at Auburn, UK’s first victory vs. the Tigers in 43 years.

Maxwell came up big in UK’s upset win at Georgia. He totaled a career-best 11 tackles, including one for loss, and made the game-clinching interception with 1:45 remaining in the game, which was the Wildcats’ first victory in Athens in 32 years. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week for that performance.

Maxwell finished his season against Tennessee with seven tackles and a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown. He had to miss UK’s appearance in the Music City Bowl because of a shoulder injury.

Maxwell was part of the first senior class in school history to go to four-consecutive bowl games, three of which were Wildcat wins.

A total of 26 Wildcats from the 2007-09 senior classes have been drafted or signed NFL free-agent contracts during the last three years.