O’Maury Samuels’ father sheds light on his son’s decision criteria.

Los Lunas (N.M) running back O’Maury Samuels has rose from recruiting obscurity last month after a standout showing at Nike’s Opening Regional in Dallas. Since then numerous programs have shown interest, but Michigan is among those giving fiercest chase. The Wolverines were the first Power Five school to offer and his father says that was the key to getting his son up on a visit this weekend.

Sam Webb: Since O'Maury began receiving national attention we’ve heard some pretty lofty comparisons. Who does he remind you of on the field?

Mr. Samuels: "As far as comparing him to Adrian Peterson, you have to take that for what it's worth.  We're talking about a 16 year old kid. One thing that does stand out, and I've known this since day one, the obvious attributes that he has.  His speed, his vision, his power… and that just came into play. As a freshman he played varsity but he was playing behind a senior so he didn't get many reps. His speed, his vision, his power and his decision making. O'Maury, since he was in middle school I said, ‘look, Emmitt Smith and these guys, they stay healthy for so long because they don't take punishing blows. If they have to, they deliver the blow.’ Kids are going to listen to what they want to listen to and that's one of things he likes. If he can't get the angle and out run you, he will run over you. As far as the comparison, I don't know if I would compare him to Adrian Peterson. Eric Dickerson had that long stride though, being elusive and evasive and if he had to run over you. I think I would lean towards that style for him."

Sam Webb: Was Michigan a school you guys were always interested in?

Mr. Samuels: "He was so excited about the offer and I was thrilled and excited for him that (a Power Five school offered) finally.  But in my mind and in his mind (before that) Michigan was never in play. I don't know whether he felt that he wasn't good enough for an elite program like Michigan or what, but we never thought about that. When (the offer) happened and I saw the excitement on his face.  He's low key. (Visiting Michigan) was my reward to him, I said 'do you want to go to the spring game?' and he said 'yeah I want to go.' So let's do it. You worked for it, if you want to go let's go. You can meet Coach Harbaugh and Coach Wheatley. They offered you. You can show your appreciation’."

Sam Webb: Any other big offers lately?

Mr. Samuels: "So far now he's got Arizona. I'll just list the ones he's got. He's got Arizona, New Mexico State, New Mexico, TCU, he's got UTSA, Michigan, Cal is in definite contact, USC, Oklahoma hitting him up, Texas Tech hitting him up."

Sam Webb: His options have expanded quickly. What's the decision criteria you’re going to evaluate?

Mr. Samuels: "We've had time to talk about it over the last few weeks since all of this happened. Number one, he has to realize that the school he chooses is going to have to be his home for the next three or four years and he can't go to a school just because of the coach because it's a business and if the coach leaves, athletic director, or whatever it happens, the coach may only be there a year but that's not the main decision. He understands that he has to be able to fit into what's going on in the area, not only on the campus but in the surrounding area. That's going to be his life."

"Also, in one of the local televised interviews he did, he said that he wants to go to a school that treats his athletes fairly and gives him an opportunity to compete. Also how supported they would be academically. He's carrying a 3.2 or 3.4 but he understands that if he has to seek help.  What resources are going to be available to him to allow him to be successful. He understands you can't have success on the field without success in the classroom. It took a long time to get that in his head but he gets it."

Sam Webb: What about distance from home?

Mr. Samuels: "I told him not to let that be a factor… don't worry about it. If he goes to a program I can watch him on TV. My job allows me freedom of movement. If I want to go to a game in California I'll set up some work and go to the game in California. You can get on a plane and fly home. Don't worry about that, just worry about your education and your sport, don't worry about getting home, you're going to be home sick regardless whether you're one state over or three states over. As long as you're near an airport, I'll get you home."

Sam Webb: What do you look for on visits?

Mr. Samuels: "First thing, I understand it's a business and you can't separate the sport from the business now a days, so I get that. And I understand that these coaches are doing their job and they're doing the best they can to recruit O'Maury. Our interests are aligned pretty much. One, I want a wholesome environment where he can mature and become a man. (Also) limited distractions. He's young so I want him to see how the hand holding process.  Especially his freshman year (and) beginning of sophomore year, how they treat the student athletes as far as how many grade checks do they do per semester.  How much tutoring is required? I'm also looking for (a situation where_ if he goes to the program where he's not the starting running back and he can't work his way into that, will he be able to compete to get on the field at all. From my point of view and his point of view on that. I want to give him a kid and four years later get a man back."

Sam Webb: Do you have any idea when he will be making a decision?

Mr. Samuels: "We’re not sure yet. I can't put words in his mouth, but what he's not going to be is one of those kids that keeps flipping and flopping. I didn't raise him to play with people's emotions. Once you make a decision, that's it so think long and hard.  Once you open your mouth, that's it. If they want to go through the formalities of the hats and all that, that's fine, but as far as the commitment, once he makes it, that's it. That's the way I was raised and that's the way I raised him. Sometimes people will try to put pressure on him and ask if he comes up is he going to commit and he says, 'nope. No intention of committing.'"

Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for a recap of Samuels weekend visit to Ann Arbor.

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