“I was just in shock,” said Samuels. “Personally talking to Coach Harbaugh and then Tyrone Wheatley who was a Michigan running back… and he was talented as well back in the day… it was such an honor, man."
The Michigan offer and the sudden deluge of attention from other Power Five elites stems from Samuels' electric performance at the Nike Opening Regional in Dallas. His 4.58-40 (on a bad hamstring), 4.14 shuttle and 44-inch vertical jump added up to the highest score on the Nike circuit to date (138.40). It made coaches across the country rush to look at his film. When coaches in Ann Arbor did so, a startling comparison was made.
"Coach Wheatley (compared me to) a young ‘AP’ (Adrian Peterson),” said Samuels. “Actually I look into some player, and I really like the way some college players play, like Christian McCaffrey. I just like the way he plays because he does everything. He receives, kick returns, he runs the ball, he just gets after it. It's amazing watching him run the ball. In the NFL, (the comparison) would be Adrian Peterson because he just runs hard. Linebackers and corners are intimidated when they see him run at them."
The Wolverines hope Samuels brings his own brand of intimidation to the Big House, but there’s still a long way to go in the courtship process. Simply put, he doesn’t know a great deal about his most highly regarded suitor or the men that coach it. He plans to get much better acquainted with Michigan when he makes his way up to Ann Arbor next week for the Wolverines annual spring game. In the interim, though, he admits to already being very impressed with the Maize & Blue.
"What I know is they are a good football team, they've got good coaches, and they're getting some top recruits right now,” said Samuels. “I heard Rashan Gary committed there. That's huge! I know they have a great tradition, great education, and I heard they have a really nice campus.”
That assessment doesn’t yet equate to being the talented youngster’s leader, but if the Wolverines measure up to a few key criteria they could be well on their way to that distinction.
"First (on the list of priorities) is education,” he said. “I want to try to be a physical trainer one day after my college career even if I'm blessed enough to make it to the NFL. Just play good football and hopefully get a lot of playing time… that's what I'm looking for as well. Hopefully I'll make the right decision."