Since taking over for Jim Tressel (by way of the short, transitional Luke Fickell era), Urban Meyer began restaffing Ohio State's skill positions with players in the likeness of his previous championship teams at the University of Florida. "Percy Harvin position" became a borderline-nauseating archetype that was applied wholesale to plenty of players who didn't remotely come close to fitting the description.
But if ever there was one you could see as having the makings of a straight-out-of-high school Harvin, Samuel might just be it. A year removed from OSU landing Dontre Wilson just days before National Signing Day 2013, the Buckeyes have added another weapon cut from a similar cloth.
Weight: 185 pounds
247Composite: 59th ranked player overall in the 2014 class, 8th ranked athlete, and best player from the state of New York.
High School: Erasmus Hall, Brooklyn, NY
While on the recruiting trails these past two seasons, one of the main attributes Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has been looking for in his players is speed. No matter the position, Coach Meyer wants his team to be fast, in every aspect of the game, and Curtis Samuel certainly fits that mold. Clocked at a blazing 4.36 in the 40-yard dash, it didn't take long for Samuel to earn an offer from the Buckeyes on Feb. 14, 2013. Not long after that, Samuel started receiving more interest from top programs, and was offered by USC, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Clemson in the following months.
In early May of last year, Samuel had trimmed down his list to five schools: Alabama, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Ohio State and Miami. As if Ohio State wasn't already impressed with Samuel's talents, they got a closer look at his skill when Samuel was invited to Nike's event "The Opening", where he gave an excellent performance and got attention from the SB Nation Recruiting team:
Curtis Samuel jumps 40.7" holy cow that's a big score today. pic.twitter.com/Z36WgICiqE— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) July 1, 2013
Mercy. Curtis Samuel makes an awesome catch on a back shoulder from Grier.— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) July 3, 2013
Grier threads the needs and a great grab by Curtis Samuel. 30-yard TD. 34-6 Grier's team. Winner.— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) July 3, 2013
Samuel was pretty quiet about what his decision would be throughout his entire recruitment, but would give updates as to who was contacting him the most. Around early to mid-July, Samuel was having "daily conversations" with Coach Meyer, and it seemed like the Buckeyes were the favorites to land the New York native.
It wasn't long before Samuel was invited to Friday Night Lights, Ohio State's midsummer recruiting event that hosts a bevy of recruits each year in the Horseshoe. While in attendance, Samuel caught a picture with the head coach himself, lighting up recruiting boards all over with the possibilities of a commitment coming soon. While Samuel didn't end up pulling the trigger at that time, Meyer no doubt left an impression on the speedster, and gave him plenty to think about over the next few weeks.
Heading in to August, Samuel started the month by visiting Rutgers on Aug. 2. With his recruitment appearing to come down to Ohio State and the Scarlet Knights, it seemed fair that right after a visit to Columbus, he would take a closer look at what Rutgers had to offer. Despite the visit, it looked like Ohio State was still considered the favorite by most recruiting outlets and with only a few weeks until his decision was to be made, things were looking good for the Buckeyes.
Then, on Aug. 16, Curtis Samuel gave his commitment to Ohio State, the 17th overall recruit to give his pledge to the Buckeyes in the class of 2014. A little over a month later, Samuel was named a 2014 U.S. Army All-American on Sept. 27:
#Buckeyes commit, ATH Curtis Samuel is officially a 2014 U.S. Army All-American pic.twitter.com/YL8o9SIPKO— #ArmyBowl (@ArmyAllAmerican) September 27, 2013
To make things even sweeter, Curtis Samuel was the first commitment to take advantage of a newer NCAA rule that allows recruits who plan on enrolling early to sign financial aid packages ahead of National Signing Day. On Dec. 9, Samuel was named the 2013 New York Gatorade Player of the Year.
Finally, Samuel officially enrolled to Ohio State on Jan. 8, starting his training and development as a Buckeye and putting him in the mix to potentially be used by Tom Herman as yet another weapon next fall.
With the Buckeyes signing four receivers/all-purpose backs in the class of 2014 with Samuel, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin and Noah Brown, there is sure to be plenty of competition during the early going of the spring practices. In addition to the commitments coming in, Samuel will be trying to compete for a spot against players who already have experience under their belt that have similar talents to himself. Dontre Wilson is a player who comes to mind when thinking about where Samuel fits into the offense.
Coach Meyer and Coach Herman will most likely be looking for ways to get Samuel on the field much like they did with Wilson this past season. Samuel has the talent to get on the field for meaningful minutes, and I suspect that he will be used in a variety of ways. The slot receiver and H-back roles have Samuel's name written all over it, and with Philly Brown graduating, it may allow Samuel to take the role that Wilson had last year. Wilson would get the majority of the snaps, much like Brown did during the 2013 season, while Samuel gets the snaps Wilson had a year ago.
Whether or not Samuel fits the H-back role or more of a slot receiver position, he's more than capable of earning valuable, meaningful minutes come this fall, assuming of course he uses his early enrollment to get ready to take the punishment college football defenders are prone to dish out.
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Curtis Samuel is the first commitment for Ohio State from the state of New York since defensive tackle Doug Worthington, who was in the class of 2005. Before Worthington, Will Smith and Shane Olivea were the last New York products to go to Columbus for their college careers.