O’Maury Samuels went into last weekend’s official visit to Michigan with plenty of questions about how he would fit in with the program he has been committed to for almost a year. The uncertainty came after the recent departure of two coaches from the offensive staff, including his would-be position coach and primary recruiter Tyrone Wheatley, and the pursuit of other backs during the fall and winter.
Jim Harbaugh and virtually his entire staff anticipated each of the four-star running backs concerns and addressed appears to have addressed every one of them.
“Questions were asked and answered,” Samuels’ father told The Michigan Insider. “(The most impressive thing) was the engagement of the staff and the openness as far as their anticipated use of O’Maury. They discussed what they saw in him in the beginning and what the expectations are (now). Drevno… every time I turned around they were hugging. (O’Maury) enjoyed it.”
“They want him to compete, and you know they play freshmen,” Mr. Samuels continued. ‘Show up, show out, and you’ll have an opportunity to contribute.’”
One of the main conveyers of that message was new Michigan assistant Pep Hamilton. Samuels was one of the first prospects Hamilton visited on the recruiting trail last week, and he met back up with the longtime Wolverine commit last weekend the two picked up right where they’d left off.
“We spent an enormous amount of time with (Hamilton) one-on- one, whether it be at the basketball game, at (dinner), or at the hotel,” said Mr. Samuels. “He is a good guy and he doesn’t pull any punches. He and O’Maury spoke in-depth about not just about football, but also about life. I really appreciated that. O’Maury likes him. My first impression is, ‘great guy.’ I think he is going to bring a lot to the Michigan organization.”
That organization will include a new running backs coach. That was among the first topics the Samuels’ asked about. Which begs the question, did the Maize & Blue provide answers on that front?
“Yes, they did,” Mr. Samuels replied, “but (the plan) hasn’t been disclosed. I don’t think it’s my place to do it. They But definitely did.”
And is that plan a concern for O’Maury or his family?
“No concern,” responded Mr. Samuels. “That’s one thing that he and Coach Hamilton discussed here at the house last week, and briefly touched on it over the weekend. (O’Maury) doesn’t have any concerns.”
Of much greater concern was the fit socially and academically. The Wolverines were effective in establishing comfort along those lines also.
“Him and Zach (Gentry) hung out the whole weekend,” Mr. Samuels said referring to his son’s player host. “They went to movies and whatever else they did. Every time he goes, Zach is pretty much his chaperone. He was also able to meet Chris (Evans) briefly. That’s a good kid.”
“(Michigan) also hit (academics) very hard. They were aware that he is interested in the kinesiology field. They had one of the professors come in and go step by step and talk about what it takes, what it looks like, and how to do things. We had people come in to explain how the athletes’ schedules are pretty much designed to give them the best opportunity to succeed on the field and academically.”
“Everybody he wanted to talk to, he talked to.”
All that’s left now are a few more visits and conversations with coaches in the days leading up to signing day. Arizona made it by his home earlier today and New Mexico was scheduled to make it by his school today. Michigan will then be back in-home tomorrow. From there Samuels will compare his options before settling on which one best meets his most important criteria.
“The ultimate factor I would say would be he wants to be in a position for academic success, and I put that first and foremost because he understands football is (temporary),” Mr. Samuels explained. “Getting a degree is that 40-year decision as they say. And second, he wants to play football in an environment and with a program where he can prove that, ‘hey, I’m just as good as anyone else.’”
While the talented youngster takes these last few days to arrive at a decision dad says he won’t be sharing his thoughts with many outside of his circle. They will hear his decision when he announces it at his school, likely on signing day.
“Right now he is just concentrating on school and getting his body right,” Mr. Samuels explained. “As far as speaking to media and stuff like that, I think that he has no desire to do that. He just wants to focus on what he is doing.”
Stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for more on Samuels in the days to come.