According to Dan Samuelson's father Tom, his son had some good options in choosing his school. However it was Pitt and Paul Chryst's first-year staff that had it all--so much in fact that it was an easy choice to pick Pitt in April, before summer camps and the start of his senior season. There was no need to hesitate or wait for anything else.
"I think Pitt got it right," Tom Samuelson said. "Dan's time is coming in. It's just exactly what I think is a good fit for him. These gentlemen have trained some very good offensive linemen. Who are we to even question their ability in coaching offensive linemen?"
Pitt--in desperate need of getting some more quality offensive linemen--won over the Samuelsons with the track record of Chryst's offensive philosophy and offensive line coach Jim Hueber on staff. Some can be attributed to Wisconsin's reputation for developing offensive linemen, but also the fact that these coaches are now at Pitt.
"We knew about the success of Wisconsin offensive line before they came here," Samuelson added. "We dropped in to see what these guys have. We had been there when prior staff was there. We kind of had to make another trip and rekindle that, to meet the new staff, and look where we are. We're just tickled.
"The new coaching staff that came in seems to have the right type of situation, and the right opportunity for him. They're not worried about whether he's interior or an edge player. They're going to get him as an athletic offensive lineman, and they want to find a way to maximize his own talents. We have every reason to believe they are the experts at this and we are not. They came from Wisconsin with all kinds of success, and we were well treated by everyone in town."
Distance from home is somewhat of a factor. Pittsburgh is an ideal situation--something that's different from home, away from home but close enough to make it an easy transition and easy enough to get in town for many of Dan's games.
"We're all Americans, we're only a couple states away; a new town, far enough away, yet just enough far away," Samuelson said. "Their expertise in terms of training is just exactly what we were looking for. It will do him a world of good with another year to put in; put on the size and strength to bring him in ready."
Not to mention that the Samuelsons already feel Pittsburgh is home. They also have some close family friends in Ellwood City, roughly an hour north of Pittsburgh.
"I think the thing we've noticed today is how many close friends we have," Samuelson said. "We've gotten so many well wishes by phone, by text by newspaper, word of mouth. It's made all of the hard work, unforeseen things, doubts, vitamins, and protein, made all of that stuff come together. We've done our job to the level where a place like Pittsburgh just seems like the right place."