Curtis Samuel is a great football player. In fact, there really isn't anything on the football field that Samuel can't do. With even eight career special teams tackles to his name, Samuel's natural blend of rushing and receiving skill is something any offensive player should strive to replicate.
On an offense with four skill position stars who will hear their name called in the 2016 NFL Draft, Samuel still found a way to stand out. Dubbed as one of Ohio State's "Top 5" playmakers by coach Urban Meyer going into the 2015 season, Samuel's talent will finally get an opportunity to shine in 2016 as the number one playmaker on the field for the Buckeyes. While this time of the year is always the prime season for #hottakes, Samuel has the talent and opportunity to be Meyer's most productive H-back since Percy Harvin.
Samuel the running back
After watching Braxton Miller, Dontre Wilson and Jalin Marshall play Ohio State's running back/receiver position (the H-back), I honestly feel Samuel has the most effective skill set out of the bunch to thrive in the role. Miller consistently pulled off jukes that left defenders grasping for air, but one of the things that made the 2014-2015 Buckeyes offense so effective was that its receivers consistently made a man miss, then got up the field.
You can make eight jukes to get past a guy, or make one. Either way: you're getting past the defender. Samuel's knack for not wasting unnecessary time and energy on a barrage of jukes has made him a reliable receiver and runner who always seems to get positive yardage. Whether or not this is due to Samuel's first true position being running back, Samuel's natural cutting ability is complimented by a physicality that most 5'11 200 lb backs do not possess.
While Samuel only touched the ball twice in Ohio State's national championship win over Oregon, this particular touch went about four yards longer than it should have. Maybe Oregon's middle linebacker was happy to have a breather from the freight train that is Ezekiel Elliott, but even if Samuel is just a little choo choo train, he'll still run your ass over.
This is the option that Samuel provides as an H-back for the 2016 Ohio State offense: a real running back capable of running through the tackles. While Marshall, Miller and Wilson are all great players in their own right, it's safe to say none of them would ever try lowering their shoulder against a linebacker the way Samuel has.
Samuel the wide receiver
This habit of making big plays down the field isn't quite what one would expect from a running back turned receiver, but in-case you haven't figured it out by now: Curtis Samuel isn't your everyday football player.
The unhuman throw by Cardale Jones aside, the work that Samuel put into making this catch is astonishing -- all in his first drive as a true H-back. Despite having a safety literally attempting to tackle Samuel while the ball is in the air, Samuel finds a way to keep his balance, locate the football, and finish the play with a sensational diving catch.
Could Samuel's route running and development as a complete receiver use some work? Absolutely. But there's a special type of player that looks at a football and thinks nothing else but "mine", and this appears to be a trait that Samuel has.
Curtis the blocker
Ohio State fans were spoiled by Elliott's blocking ability the past two seasons. While watching most college running backs try to pick up a blitzing linebacker is akin to watching a dog try to track a laser pointer, Elliott's exceptional ability as both a pass and run blocker is something that Ohio State fans should not hold their breath on hoping to see again.
Samuel's pass blocking ability is still somewhat unproven, but as far as run blocking goes, you aren't going to find many other running backs with Samuel's effort and explosiveness.
Putting aside the fact that Samuel throws this block on a corner -- WOW. Often times when running backs are asked to block they attempt to cut the defenders ankles. Not Samuel, as by taking on the defender at the hip, even a non-perfect block would have resulted in enough to hold up the defender. Luckily for the Buckeyes, there must be something in the water in Columbus, as the blocking abilities of Ohio State running backs have been second to none since Meyer came to town.
Curtis the playmaker
Now for the scary part: take everything we've just witnessed, and multiply it by four to five. In 2015 Samuel averaged three offensive touches a game while averaging nearly 11 yards a touch.
With no Elliott, no Mike Thomas, no Miller, no Marshall, who better to give the ball to than number four?
Plays like the one below in which Samuel shows he's capable of turning a one on one situation in the hole into a nearly untouched 40 yard touchdown sprint prove just how dangerous Samuel could be with 12-15 touches a game. Maybe Curtis Samuel is a secret to some, but it won't take long come September for the nation to meet Ohio State's new number one playmaker.