The Early Bucks: Curtis Samuel

Seven Ohio State recruits in the class of 2014 have enrolled early, which sounds like the makings of a week-long series to us. With that in mind, BSB is profiling the seven players who have already arrived on campus ahead of National Signing Day, including this piece on hybrid player Curtis Samuel

Curtis Samuel
5-11, 185
Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall
No. 9 WR, four stars
Committed on Aug. 16, 2013

Ohio State Bio:

Curtis Samuel is a consensus four-star prospect and he is among the Top 100 players in the nation according to Rivals, 247Sports and Scout ... listed on the ESPN 300 (No. 153) ... Samuel rushed for 1,461 yards, averaged 15.8 yards per rush and scored 17 touchdowns this season and helped his 10-2 Dutchmen team, coached by Danny Landberg, to a second appearance in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) city title game ... named New York's Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior ... rushed for 446 yards and scored six touchdowns in the 2013 city league playoffs ... had an 80-yard kickoff return TD vs. John F. Kennedy and had a 75-yard TD run vs. Tottenville in the title game ... invited to U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... Samuel averaged 11.5 yards per carry as a junior while rushing for 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns ... he also had three receiving touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns as a junior while helping Erasmus to an undefeated season and a first-ever PSAL title ... the New York Daily News named Samuel its city player of the year in 2012 ... state runner-up in the 55-meter dash last spring ... his family includes his mother Nicole Samuel, stepfather Roy Armstead and father Curtis Council.

Samuel's Story: A rare Ohio State commit from New York City, Samuel comes to Ohio State as a jack of all trades who can play running back, wide receiver and defensive back if the need arises.

Of course, he'll start off on offense, where he impressed as a junior – one year after suffering a broken leg as a sophomore – while leading Erasmus Hall to the city championship to earn early offers from Syracuse, Connecticut, Virginia, Boston College and Rutgers.

He was also hearing from a number of Big Ten schools including Ohio State by March, and he decreed he had no leader at the time.

"I want a school that fits my play style and that is heading is the right direction," he told Scout's Brian Dohn.

By April he had picked up offers from OSU, Florida and USC, and he hit the camp circuit come the early spring, visiting the PASwag 7v7 camp and the New Jersey NFTC. At the time, Ohio State was one of schools standing out on Samuel's list.

"I talk to the (coach) Urban Meyer and (assistant) coach Ed Warinner and a few other coaches," he said. "Urban Meyer is a great coach. I've watched him coach many great teams. He coached Percy Harvin, and that's the type of role I want to play in an offense."

In May, Samuel named a top five of Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, OSU and Rutgers. That was still his top five when he joined a number of Ohio State commits taking part in The Opening, at which he was named one of Scout's top five offensive surprises thanks in part to a 4.36-second 40-yard dash and excellent change of direction.

After heading back from Oregon, Samuel made his way to Columbus and also to visit Rutgers, leaving with good impressions of both places and hoping to come to a decision in a short amount of time.

That time was mid-August, when Samuel made it clear that he would be a Buckeye.

"We kind of run the same offense and he feels very comfortable in his role there, being that it's the same as mine," his high school coach, Danny Landberg, said. "He feels like the playbook …he can walk in having a comfortability factor for himself."

He was later named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, at which he spoke about his feelings on being a Buckeye. In case there was any doubt, Samuel became one of the first players in the nation to sign an early financial aid agreement in November.

Samuel finished his high school career in San Antonio, where he was switched to the defensive side of the ball and still excelled.

"I'm an aggressive type of guy," he said. "On offense, I'm aggressive. On defense, I'm aggressive. I don't have to change that much. There are a lot of talented guys out here competing and it's only going to help your game."

Early Impact: Ohio State lists Samuel as a hybrid running back/wide receiver, so it sounds as though he will be in the "H" spot that the Buckeyes still haven't quite filled in the offense in Meyer's first two seasons. Dontre Wilson showed some ability in the role this year but finished the season with just 53 offensive touches. Samuel will join a group of talented youngsters looking for more playing time as the Buckeyes retool the offensive skill positions in 2014, so entering early gives him a leg up and a chance to impress coaches during spring practice.

Expert Take: "Samuel's burst and ability to cut at a high rate of speed had Ohio State coach Urban Meyer using the "Percy Harvin" approach. He sold Samuel on the belief he was the next one to copy what Harvin did for Meyer's teams at Florida, and while such lofty comparisons are dangerous, it is possible to see why Meyer took that tact.

"Samuel is simply electric with the ball in his hands. Defensive backs have angles, and it doesn't matter as he runs by them. Plays designed to the right wind up touchdowns around the left side. Samuel does it from the backfield, lined up at receiver and also as a safety. He changes direction well, stops and starts in a heartbeat and his balance is phenomenal. He wasn't asked to run a lot of routes in high school, but he does come out of breaks well and has good hands." – Dohn

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