By Tim Stack
Updated December 01, 2011 at 07:59 PM EST


Gleeks were shocked last summer when Chord Overstreet, who plays jock Sam, declined an offer to return to Glee as a recurring character in season 3 and instead chose to to focus on his other passion: music. “I wanted to do a bunch of recording and take time to do that,” the 22-year-old says. But now Overstreet and Glee producers are ready to reintroduce Sam into the halls of McKinley High, where he’ll reappear on the Dec. 6 episode (and recur throughout the rest of season 3). “Luckily, everything kind of opened back up [in my schedule] so I could jump back in,” the actor says.

Sam’s back to boost New Directions, who are sorely lacking members thanks to splinter glee club the Troubletones. Explains Overstreet: “Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) are looking for somebody to help them with sectionals … So they bring [Sam] back to school. He tries to kind of pick everything back up where he left off and he realizes that everything has has changed a little bit since he’s gone. He has to kind of re-adapt a little bit.” One big development is the fact that former flame Mercedes (Amber Riley) has a new boyfriend. (“They address what happened [between them] last summer,” Overstreet teases.) Still, some things — like Santana (Naya Rivera), who named Sam “Trouty Mouth” — never change. “She goes off” on Sam when he comes back, Overstreet says. “She rips me a new one.”

Overstreet admits he’s not sure how long Sam will continue to roam the McKinley halls. Says the actor, “Right now, we’re playing it by ear, having fun and just enjoying doing that and doing music also.”

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