Curtis Samuel’s high school football career ended with a late-game ankle injury in Erasmus Hall’s semifinal loss to Tottenville last season.
But it won’t be long until you can see the electric Samuel doing his thing on the gridiron again — this time on your television sets, playing for Ohio State.
Talking about the speedster in the preseason has brought many smiles to the face of Buckeyes coach Urban Myers. He’s already said Samuel will see the field as a freshman. Samuel was one of the first first-year players to get the black stripe taken off his helmet, a signal of acceptance onto the Ohio State roster. He was also named the team’s x-factor in the most recent “Sports Illustrated.”
When Myers recruited the big-play-making Samuel, he compared him to Percy Harvin, whom he coached at Florida and is now one of the NFL’s most dangerous receivers with the Minnesota Vikings. Samuel, the No. 49 recruit in the country according to Rivals.com, was a running back in high school, but a lot of times he was brought out wide as the slot receiver. From there, he could get the ball in space and score, 50-, 60-, and 70-yard touchdowns.
That’s exactly what he did in Ohio State’s spring game, breaking a 50-yard scoring run that announced his presence in a big way.
At the Buckeyes’ recent media day, Meyer put Samuel’s name in the mix for the starting running back job, along with three others players. The coach has heaped high praise on young players before, and is trying to control his own expectations for Samuel. Meyer stated at media day the he believes the freshman can do everything he needs to be a running back in the Big Ten.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve got to be careful, because I do this, but I love that kid, and man oh man, does he go hard. He is talented and will play this year.”
Samuel has stayed humble during all this and just put in the work. He has put on 12 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus last winter, and his hoping to add more. Samuel is listed at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and he has put his new frame to good use.
Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com reported that during the spring, Samuel impressed his teammates by delivering a big hit of his own after being laid out on the previous play. He understands that despite his god-given talent, there is still plenty for him to learn.
“We have to go in there and be really ready to work, follow the lead of our seniors and other team leaders,” Samuel said at media day about the team’s second week of training camp.
He is part of a talent trio of Brooklyn players starting their college careers this season at big-time colleges, with Thomas Holley at Florida and Jay Hayes at Notre Dame, both defensive ends. Sacks from them will by fun to watch, but Samuel has received the most pre-season hype. He been tapped as a potential star and has the physical tools to be a serious game changer. Samuel won’t get to show those off on the high school fields of New York City anymore, but the rest of the country appears ready to enjoy just how special a player we know he is.