Curtis Samuel turned in one of the most electric campaigns for an Ohio State skill player last season. Now, the Brooklyn native has his chance to continue his brilliance at the next level and will get to do so with one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
The Carolina Panthers selected Samuel with the 40th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Friday night. He is the fourth Buckeye to come off the board, joining defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker and Gareon Conley. The Panthers took Samuel one night after taking Stanford's Christian McCaffrey eighth overall, giving two brand new explosive toys to quarterback Cam Newton.
Samuel was the only player in college football to record at least 700 rushing and 700 receiving yards during the 2016 season. He finished with a team-leading 865 yards through the air and seven touchdowns to go with 771 more yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Easily the most explosive player in Urban Meyer's offense last year, Samuel became the focal point to everything the Buckeyes did when they had the ball. He elected to turn pro after his junior season.
Despite questions revolving around his position at the next level — Samuel played Meyer's hybrid H-back spot tremendously — his stock rose in Indianapolis at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.31-second 40-yard dash. He worked out with the wide receivers at the Combine and said he told teams he can both that and run the ball if asked.
“I feel like the National Football League wants playmakers and different type of players,” he said. “So being able to separate myself not only catching the ball but also running the ball, I can do both, I feel like that’s what’s helping me out a little bit more.”
Samuel's iconic play at Ohio State came against archrival Michigan, when he scampered into the end zone from 15 yards out in double overtime to beat the Wolverines 30-27 and ultimately send the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff. The Houdini Act two plays prior by Samuel, where he changed directions on the field twice, set the table for the game-winning score in the north end zone of Ohio Stadium.
He is the third Ohio State wide receiver taken in the second round of the NFL Draft in as many years. The New Orleans Saints took Michael Thomas in 2016, while the New York Jets grabbed Devin Smith a year earlier.
Samuel finished his fine Ohio State career with 1,286 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 172 attempts and 1,249 receiving yards to go with nine scores on 107 catches, completely renaming the fabled "Percy Harvin Position" to his own.