Samuel Becoming Accustomed To UNC, OL

Throughout Saturday's North Carolina-Boston College ACC matchup, Caleb Samuel's focus was different than during previous contests the UNC pledge has witnessed in Kenan Stadium.

"Pretty much the whole time on Saturday I was watching James Hurst," Samuel said. "He plays left tackle and I'm projected to play left tackle. I can learn a lot from him since he's going to be drafted pretty high."

Samuel is trying to soak in as much as he can as quickly as possible since he's had such a late start on offensive line play. It wasn't until the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder transferred to Macon (Ga.) First Presbyterian Day this past offseason that he started to receive significant practice reps and game action at offensive tackle. Previously, his focus was defensive end.

"I'm getting more and more comfortable on O-line every single week," Samuel said. "I think it's going well. I'm learning every single week. Every day I learn something that I didn't learn before. I'm learning that there are easier ways to do what I'm doing and I'm starting to think like an offensive lineman."

In addition to learning the intricacies of playing offensive line, weight gain will be paramount for Samuel. He says it's been difficult putting on the pounds this football season since he's starting both ways for FPD, a 1A school with a K-12 enrollment of 1,000 students.

"Coach [Chris Kapilovic] just said to keep eating and keep lifting," Samuel said.

After helping FPD edge Irwinton (Ga.) Wilkinson County on Friday night, Samuel and his parents caught an early morning flight on Saturday, arriving in Chapel Hill at about noon.

Once on campus, Samuel visited the student store and tried to acclimate himself to the campus. He noticed the subtle changes UNC has made to improve its game day atmosphere since he last attended a game in Chapel Hill a year ago. Specifically, he liked the relocation of Tar Heel Town to just outside the football building and the addition of a pregame DJ in the student section.

"It just tells me that they want everybody to be involved – not only the students, but everybody in the community," Samuel said. "I'm all for it."

Before and after UNC's 34-10 victory, Samuel had multiple conversations with Kapilovic. Also before the game, Samuel was part of a contingent of UNC commitments that spent a brief moment in Larry Fedora's office with their future head coach.

"I've enjoyed getting to know every single one of [the commitments]," Samuel said. "They're all really cool guys. I'm excited about the next four years with them.

"There hasn't been anybody that I've been close to, because I'm pretty far away from everybody. But I've known Cameron Albright before we were committed and I've been talking to him throughout the whole process."

While UNC cruised to the win on Saturday, it was only the Tar Heels' second victory of the season.

"I feel like their record doesn't really show how good they are," Samuel said. "Some of the games just slipped away. Like Miami slipped away. Georgia Tech slipped away. I feel like they have a lot of good things going for them so I'm confident in what they can be."

Samuel understands rough starts from first-hand experience. FPD dropped three of its first four games this season, but has since rebounded to win four straight. Samuel is confident that FPD will continue its winning ways – so much so that his flight to N.C. for the Tar Heels' regular season finale against Duke has been booked for Saturday morning since he expects to play the night before, which will be the third round of the GHSA Class A Private School Championship.

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