Samuel, a 2014 sophomore, played in seven games last season with a start in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. This was after he did not participate in the first six games of his freshman season, then was activated as a true rookie after a regular was injured. He caught four passes for a total of 72 yards, the longest being a 28-yard grab at home against Kentucky on his very first college reception. And in that lone start Samuel scored what will be his only touchdown at Mississippi State, on a four-yard connection from Dak Prescott in the second quarter.
A native of Columbus, GA, he was a sign-and-place recruit in 2012 and spent the fall semester at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia before re-signing with Mississippi State and enrolling in January 2013. So he will have three full varsity seasons remaining if Samuel transfers to another FBS program.
Samuel emerged from spring practices as the first ‘big' tight end for 2014, though this position has been greatly deemphasized within the context of Coach Dan Mullen's multiple-wides offensive plans. The other ‘big' tight end, Rufus Warren, has moved to offensive tackle for example.
But some serious size is already on campus readying to take over, with junior college tight end Darrion Hutcherson signed in February and reporting for summer school semester.
The rest make up a group of receiver-focused Bulldogs listed as tight ends, led by veterans Malcolm Johnson and Brandon Hill with a now-healthy sophomore Gus Walley making a big spring showing and redshirt B.J. Hammond developing on schedule.
Pre-season practices begin on July 30, and Mullen's sixth season with the Bulldogs kicks off August 30.