Better Know a Buckeye: Curtis Samuel

By Vico on May 29, 2014 at 11:00a
54 Comments

The 16th installment of the Better Know a Buckeye series profiles Curtis Samuel, an athlete, or "hybrid", prospect from Brooklyn, New York. Samuel is a fascinating prospect. He is arguably the best overall signee in Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class. If he is not the highest rated prospect in Ohio State's signing class, it is his own doing. Samuel was somewhat reclusive on the signing trail and is not on social media. Absent means to talk up his recruiting status, Samuel let his combine performances and highlight tape do the talking. After he pledged to Ohio State, he became silent altogether. Ohio State fans will get to know him better this fall. 

This feature will better know him here. I retell his recruitment here and the reason for his pledge to Ohio State. Thereafter, I provide a discussion of strengths and areas for improvement before suggesting Samuel will play as a true freshman. I offer highlight film and conclude with miscellaneous things about Curtis Samuel you may find interesting.

Height: 5-11
Weight: 190
High School: Erasmus Hall High School; Brooklyn, NY

His Recruitment

This recap of Samuel's recruitment begins near the end of last February when Ohio State extended a scholarship offer. By that time, Samuel was sitting on four offers from local programs like Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse. Virginia had also offered. Understanding who offered when is difficult. By the end of his junior year, Samuel listed offers from programs across the country, including heavyweights like Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and USC, among many others.

Samuel listed a top five of Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Rutgers in the first week of May. Though Samuel listed five schools in alphabetical order, his recruitment through the summer was a battle between the last two schools mentioned on the list. Ohio State's offensive style and aggressive recruiting approach paid dividends through the spring and summer. Rutgers was keeping pace as well. Before its class disintegrated near the end of 2013, Rutgers was on quite the recruiting tear for 2014. Samuel was a high-priority target for Kyle Flood.

After a great performance at The Opening combine in Oregon, Samuel took an unofficial visit to Ohio State for the 2013 Friday Night Lights camp. Samuel felt at home during his unofficial visit. That Urban Meyer was pitching a role similar to what Percy Harvin did for him for the Florida Gators helped Meyer's cause. Samuel patterned himself off Harvin during his youth.

By all accounts, Samuel was a strong Ohio State lean through the summer. Rutgers' position with Samuel through the summer may have been a function of Samuel's desire to stay close to home. Despite holding offers from prestigious programs like Alabama and USC, he did not attempt a visit. He did not give serious consideration to offers like those from Clemson and Florida. Samuel has said he will miss dinners with Mom and Dad the most when he starts his collegiate career. Going to Rutgers would have been the ideal balance between proximity to home and playing for a competitive program.

Fighting uphill for his verbal pledge, Rutgers hosted Samuel for an unofficial visit in the first week of August. Kyle Flood showed Samuel everything he could about Rutgers and hammered home that Rutgers was the first program to notice Samuel. It offered him when he was a sophomore. Samuel enjoyed his visit and enjoyed everything Rutgers had done for him.

However, his lean to Ohio State was too strong for any other decision when he announced a commitment date of August 16.

His Commitment

On August 16, 2013, Curtis Samuel became the 16th member of Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class. He chose Ohio State over nearby Rutgers.

Samuel's recruitment was handled by his coaching staff at Erasmus Hall who emphasized that Samuel's decision for Ohio State was what felt best for him despite Samuel being a lifelong resident of New York City. Playing for Urban Meyer, who personally handled the recruitment of Samuel to Ohio State, was too much of any opportunity to forgo for Rutgers.

Where He Excels

If this feature seems light on quotes and tidbits about Samuel, that is because of how Samuel handled his recruitment. In an era of "stars" and social media campaigns to woo prospects to a fan's program of choice, Samuel is the "anti-recruit". He said little on the recruiting trail. He allowed his high school coaches to serve as his representatives. After he committed to Ohio State, Samuel dropped off the recruiting grid entirely. 

This behavior is somewhat refreshing because it belies just how good Samuel is. In my opinion, he is the best overall prospect in this recruiting class regardless of star ranking. Basically, Samuel could have been a consensus five-star prospect if he wanted to "play the game" a little. Instead, Samuel was content to make his decision when he did and go back to a quiet life of family dinners before graduating and enrolling at Ohio State in January. That he hails from New York State, known more for its basketball than its football, helped him retain anonymity in the world of college football recruiting.

Samuel could be a safety in college football but Ohio State wants him at that "H-back" role popularized by Percy Harvin in Urban Meyer's offense. Toward that end, he has a nice "choppy" stride that Meyer wants for that particular role.

Still, Samuel erases angles defenders have on him. He makes it look effortless too. That he is already posting sub-4.4 40s and 40-inch verticals as a 16-year-old high school junior makes his highlight film more impressive despite the opposition. His high school head coach, Danny Landberg, is bullish on what Ohio State's conditioning program will do for him.

“I like that he’s a no nonsense guy,” Lamberg said. “When Curt hits the weight room and conditioning and eating right, he will have NFL combine numbers that will be off the charts going into his junior year. I’ve known him for a long time, I’ve seen many players, his potential is like none other that I’ve seen.”

Must Work On


New York City might be an "emerging" high school football market at the moment but Samuel will have an adjustment transitioning to major college football. Enrolling in January helped.

I see some bad habits from Samuel that are correctable with experience and proper coaching. His ball control can be lax at times. He is also quick to abort a play and improvise if he feels uncomfortable with the play as it is developing. Sometimes a player has to trust the play call. Samuel will learn this.

Redshirt?

No. Barring an injury, Samuel should play as a true freshman. I would put him on a watchlist for the conference's freshman of the year award too. I tend to avoid hype in these features but I am that keen on what Samuel can do at Ohio State.

Highlights

These are from Samuel's senior year.

Miscellany

  • 11W feature on Samuel from last month.
  • Gatorade player of the year in New York.
  • Nice fluff piece from 247sports on Curtis Samuel, his youth, and his football development. This is where he talks about missing family dinners in college.
  • Samuel is the first Ohio State signee from New York State since Doug Worthington in the 2005 recruiting class.
  • Samuel was a U.S. Army All-American along with more than half of Ohio State's recruiting class.
  • Video feature on his recruitment.
  • NY Daily News feature.
  • Samuel rushed for 1,461 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2013. He averaged 15.8 yards per rush.
  • His high school team's nickname is "the Dutchmen". Unique high school nicknames will always get mentions in these features.
  • His high school in its current form (K382) is an artifact of the old Erasmus Hall High School. With its origin as the Erasmus Academy in 1786, it is one of the oldest in the country. Alumni include Joe Barbera, Bobby Fischer, Barbra Streisand, Sid Luckman, and Mae West, among many others.
54 Comments

Comments

Woodysghost's picture

Cant wait to see this kid fly down the field this year. 

+8 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Plenty of Fly-Bys coming our way.

ronbizi's picture

Dare I say, he looks like a better version of Teddy Ginn.

dwcbuckeye's picture

Thanks Vico.  I feel the same way about this kid.  Optimistic that he will be a bigger part of our offense then expected

+2 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

if not on the offense he better be seeing the field at special teams return man.  he is just way to fast not to put out there

+1 HS
Buckeye419er's picture

Weapons, I like em. 

+1 HS
Right Again's picture

I gotta say, during his recruitment it was frustrating to not see anything on social media as we never had any idea what he was thinking, who he was visiting, who his "top 15" was, etc.  But in retrospect, I have to applaud the way he handled everything.

+13 HS
theopulas's picture

so true....i worried also....now i wish most did it that way....i think this kid will be our best back.....i know Zeke will start this year but CS will play and play alot

Theopulas

+1 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

I don't know why, but this is the first time I am seeing his highlight film. I was skeptical about him being as fast as many people were making him out to be, and (ignorantly) thinking he was not as fast as Dontre Wilson. So I pressed play on his highlight film:

HOLY HELL...

WOW. That speed... With Eze, Dontre, Samuel, Campbell, etc. These youngin's are going to be scorching up some defenses.

I apologize to Mr. Samuel for doubting his speed. I just got real pumped to see this kid in action.

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+8 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

DubJay, plus we have seen kids with speed play high school ball and you see when they reverse (or try to make a play out of nothing) they tend to go backwards and lose yards. In high school, a kid with his talent can get away with that and make a spectacular play. Samuel doesn't do that! He still tries to make a play by breaking off the play called (as was said in the article) but he doesn't go too far backwards. He cuts around his blockers but stays close enough and tries to stay north/south as best he can till he finds the hole.

this tells me that he will be very good at RB and isn't afraid of getting touched for a short loss. Too many kids make a short loss into a 10-15 yard loss by doing this. Samuel is going to be good and I think he will be able to handle the increase in competition.

plus, as much as I love Dontre and his speed, Samuel is a true 6 foot player which makes him so much more like "that player we don't mention". Samuel can break tackles NOW as a true freshman, and once he gets a bit of muscle on that frame he will be able to bust through holes and make huge plays. Dontre was fast enough to make something out of nothing but he just couldn't break the tackles to take it all the way when the defense swarms him. Maybe he will this year but I know Samuel will.

speed and size means this kid is going to be a game breaker instantly!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+3 HS
theopulas's picture

your right....i don't think you can keep him off the field.....watch out dontre.....

Theopulas

OSUpawn's picture

STUD!  He was my favorite recruit of last year.  If he puts on 15-20 pounds he will be unstoppable.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

TraSmith4's picture

Samuel and Campbell are both faster than Wilson... should be fun to watch! :)

zacisone's picture

The kid doesn't need a hole, just a spot that looks a little soft and he is off. That's what I'm talking 'bout!

Zacisone

EwanJobi's picture

The season can't get here soon enough.

+1 HS
Lawver_5's picture

Does his highlight tape remind anyone else of Reggie bush? That's obviously a pretty big comparison, but by how fast and athletic is, and his one flip into the endzone, that's who popped into my head 

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

similar size too. good comparison. I think the only difference will be the overall talent around each. Bush had some playmakers on the team with him (and a solid QB too) but I think Samuel will have the better supporting cast. It might mean Samuel won't have the stats Bush had.

although I wouldn't be surprised if by his sophomore year Samuel will break out easily. What helps me believe that is the thought that he will be running behind Decker and Knox. With linemen that Meyer recruited this past year, a talent like Samuel will have gaping holes to hit. I would love to see Meech bulldoze a defender with Samuel busting through behind him.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
GVerrilli92's picture

Don't forget about Johnnie Dixon. 

Our offense is starting to look like an Alabama man's basement with all of these weapons.

How many cheeseburgers are you gunna drive into that dirty old cheeseburger locker Brady Hoke?

+12 HS
Soggy_McMuffin's picture

Up vote! Alabama man's basement.Lmao

Gooz-fra-bah...

+1 HS
Zimmy07's picture

Bammer's Basement, LOL!

 

+5 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+2 HS
Damonbuckeye's picture

LMAO!!! Where is that from???

gunni070's picture

freaking awesome, haha!

ITWASME's picture

I seriously can't wait until that first time he gets into open space and lights the field on fire with his speed

AGAB's picture

GOOD LUCK TO CURTIS THIS SEASON !!  There are always references to Percy Harvin, how about a little loyalty to our own speed superstar Ted Ginn. Frankly, I am looking for the next Ted Ginn, forget Harvin. IMO, Ted was one of the most exciting players ever to wear the Scarlet and Gray.

+3 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

position will be the defining factor. Samuel will be more like that "player we do not name" because he will be more of a hybrid RB/slot receiver. Ginn was more a pure wideout who specialized in bubble screens.

I would say Johnny Dixon or Jalin Marshall could be the next Teddy Ginn! In the spring game, Dixon was looking pretty nice on those short passes and screens. Ginn also wasn't just a short pass receiver either. He could catch some bombs. I think Corey Smith could be a lot like him too. Maybe Dontre will become that guy!

 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+2 HS
WesPatterson23's picture

Although he redshirted last year, I feel like James Clark plays very similarly to TG. Not too tall, long strides and blazing speed.

+4 HS
HattanBuck85's picture

Totally agree. I'm really excited about Clark. Has blazing speed. I always thought he would be dangerous as a Kick Returner.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Can you smell what Urban's been cookin???

Burnt defenses me thinks...GO BUCKS!!!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+1 HS
rdubs's picture

I would love to find a way to get him Dontre and Marshall on the field at the same time.  I left off like 10 other guys, but we have to have a couple of blockers.  So many offensive weapons I can't wait to see.

BuckeyeNationforLife's picture

Samuel, Parris Campbell, Terry Mclaurin (saw him return a kick for a TD against Sam Hubbs' Moeller team, it was unreal his speed), Noah Brown, Malik Hooker, Johnnie Dixon, damn you just can't be mad with the offensive weapons we have coming in.. Woooie!

+1 HS
NuttyBuckeye's picture

When I read that you say Samuel should be on the Frosh POY, I thought, he can't be better than Wilson.  But, I re-watched his highlight tape, and GAWD!!!  The tape is FULL of TD runs... This yound man is fast and tough.  He looked very promising in the Spring Game, as well.

We are going to be LOADED and lightning FAST this year.  Defenses better get in the way of these young men, or they'll be watching their backsides all season long.  I think Meyer finally has the team speed and weapons he wants on offense.

Marc Pocock (a.k.a NuttyBuckeye)

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+2 HS
MattyBeingMatty's picture

From a friend I talked to this weekend who works in the football operations department:

"Watch out for number 4 this year. Kid is electric"

“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world, I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick." -TP

+5 HS
qaid's picture

Samuel has said he will miss dinners with Mom and Dad the most when he starts his collegiate career

What a kid! I like his character, he sounds a little more family-oriented and humble than some of the other Buckeyes. I feel like we can count on him to stay out of trouble and be successful. I can't wait to see him on the field. Also speed, wow!, etc.

DC-town's picture

Has to be a fan favorite by how he handled his recruitment...love it, thank you Curtis-

hope to see that same mentality on the field, no games or messing around- just bring the noise

'Piss excellence' -RB

BroJim's picture

Gotta love how is QB sells the sneak 100% at the 54 second mark. Lol, God bless the kid. 

I season my simple food with hunger

Klytus21's picture

Poor #5 at 2:25.  Had to laugh, sorry.  Almost had the angle.

NJBuck

whobdis's picture

Every year we have some kid who someone claims has TG speed..this may be the closest we've seen in awhile. He doesn't run anything like Teddy but just the same he seems to blow by everyone. Some of those defenders had great angles and still grasping air.

+2 HS
IGotAWoody's picture
I'm so giddy I can't contain myself!

 

 - License to kill gophers (wolverines, badgers, etc) by the government of the United Nations

+3 HS
HighBallAce's picture

I love it that his nickname is the Roadrunner! I see him and Elliot being the best 1-2 punch in all of college football real soon! This one's gonna be special!

ChazBuckeye's picture

Samuel, Wilson, Marshall, McLaurin and possibly others could be that speed position that OSU needs (e.g.  Dare I say, Percy Harvin role). However out of these four above, I see Samuel being the best suited for that role.  He can catch, run and run ppl over.  Wilson I can see doing both catching and running, but not as well with running the jet sweep as I thought he'd be.  Now imagine having Wilson, Samuel and Marshall on the field at the same time???  No that's a problem for D-coordinators.  

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

osubuck57's picture

Samuel and Dontre on the edges, are gonna be sick. Was super excited when he decided to be a part of this class. Best of luck to him and glad he's staying at RB.

SCOTTC.

+1 HS
Buckeye Knight's picture

One of my favorite recruits the past few years.  BIG THINGS AHEAD BABY!!!

 

 

+1 HS
buckeyeT24's picture

Man I would love to see Dontre, Samuel and EZE on the field at the same time! 

+1 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

It's insane how much speed and how many weapons the team has now compared to just a few short years ago.  Makes a huge difference!  Can't wait for the fall to get here so we can watch some Buckeye football!!

Go Bucks!!

ScarletGray43157's picture

He really makes it look easy.

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Definitely my favorite recruit in the '14 class.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckeyestu's picture

Lots of speed on this team now, and I think Samuel is going to be special, however, I want to see Kwon take over as a starter and anchor this defense. I believe strongly that defense wins Championships and it is high time the Buckeyes win a few. Kwon is my favorite new Buckeye. It is time for the SILVER BULLETS  to reappear.

+2 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Hyper talented, Fast, humble, no top 25 lists, no drama...you gotta love this kid. I hope they didn't break the mold.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

+2 HS
Rogabone's picture

Wake me up when it's August. I cannot take it anymore.
 

"Who is that madman?" the new arrival asked St. Peter.

"That's God," St. Peter replied. "But he thinks he's Woody Hayes."

+2 HS
bleedscarlet's picture

He's got "next big thing" written all over him...

I'm too drunk to taste this chicken

+2 HS
Buckeye Knight's picture
That run starting at 2:27 is sick.
 

 

gangstarrbuck's picture

When asked about the progress of Curtis Samuel this spring to an OSU assistant coach I got this response:

"Curtis Samuel....THAT KID CAN CHANGE THE WEATHER!"

 

Gangstarrbuck

+3 HS