Samuel Adjusting

MACON, Ga. --- For his senior season, North Carolina pledge Caleb Samuel will have to adjust to a couple of changes – a new school and playing offensive tackle full time.

After playing the previous three seasons at Strafford Academy, Samuel transferred less than three miles away to First Presbyterian Day School for his senior year. The move, according to Samuel, was to increase the level of competition the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder will face every fall Friday night. FPD plays in GHSA Region 7-A, which is a step up from the GISA 2AAA league that Stratford plays in.

"It's been good," Samuel said. "I've learned a lot. Everything is fast paced. It's good preparation for me for next year."

In addition to the transition that comes with changing schools, Samuel will start both ways this fall. He'll continue to play the familiar position of defensive end, but he'll also start at offensive tackle, the position UNC projects him at.

"What you're going to see is a very big – obviously – but very athletic football player and he hustles," Moore said. "He enjoys playing football. He does drills well. He does group work well. And he's a great teammate. He has just been voted a team captain for our football team.

Samuel has taken to offensive tackle.

"I like it a lot," Samuel said. "Personally, I didn't think I was going to be all that good at it. I didn't think I was going to pick it up. But it's becoming second nature for me and I can see myself playing the next four years at offensive tackle."

For Moore's point of view, Samuel has picked up offensive line play quickly.

"There's no mistaking when you put him in a pass pro drill and you get a chance to watch him set his feet and kick back and throw those hands out there that he has the tools," Moore said. "He's very strong, very explosive, very quick, very agile, and he's caught on very quickly."

Samuel says his biggest adjustment is adapting to the footwork required at offensive tackle.

"It's been difficult making sure I take the right steps," Samuel said. "Making sure I take the right angle with my steps and then knowing when to punch."

At Fedora's Freak Show, Samuel received a crash course on offensive line play.

"The more I did it, the better I got at it," Samuel said. "I learned I had to be patient with the [defensive lineman's] rush. I was learning as I was going. So I would pick up things and the next rep I would try to correct it."

That experience included exposure to Chris Kapilovic's coaching style. Kapilovic will be Samuel's future offensive line coach.

"He's a really good coach – he's a really, really good coach," Samuel said. "He's very energetic and he knows a lot about what he's doing. So I'm excited about being coached by him."

The previous season, Samuel attended a "regular" UNC camp. He quickly noticed the difference between that experience and a Fedora Freak Show.

"Fedora's Freak Shows are a lot of fun, first off," Samuel said. "That day was a lot of fun, but it's also more competitive. It's basically the best against the best for two-three hours."

Samuel especially liked interacting with the current UNC players, who watched the camp from the sidelines.

"They're just like regular people," Samuel said. "For instance, James Hurst, he's really good at what he does and it was cool for me to talk to him and realize he's just a regular guy."

Lastly, Samuel enjoyed how the UNC staff concluded the event with a dodge ball tournament.

"It shows that they are about business, but they are also about having fun," Samuel said. "It was a fun way to end the camp like that."

Fedora's Freak Show was Samuel's first visit to Chapel Hill since committing to the school in April. He says that it had a little different feeling knowing that it was going to be his home for four years.

"I kind of had a sense of family," Samuel said. "I felt like I was a part of UNC and it was great meeting all the other commits. It was a different feeling knowing that you're a part of something."

Although he'd enjoy attending all of UNC's home games, distance will limit the amount of trips Samuel makes to Chapel Hill this fall. He hopes to be on hand for one or two games this season.

There are a couple of games that Samuel is excited to watch from the comfort of his own home.

"The Miami game," Samuel said. "I want to see that. I'm excited to see that. Of course, I want to see the jerseys – the ‘Zero Dark Thursday' theme. It's cool and it's going to be a night game. Last year, the Miami game was a great game.

"I'm definitely going to watch the South Carolina game – I'm going to watch every single one that's on [TV] that I don't go to. I want to see how Hurst handles Jadeveon [Clowney]."

Caleb Samuel Profile


Inside Carolina Top Stories