2013 Recruiting: Dan Samuelson Comment Count

Brian July 5th, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton,DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox.

Plymouth, IN – 6'5", 290



4*, NR overall
#25 OT


3*, NR overall
#33 OG, #11 IN


3*, NR overall
#88 OT, #14 IN


3*, NR overall
#17 OG, #6 IN

Other Suitors

Nebraska, Pitt, Minnesota, Illinois

YMRMFSPA Rueben Riley
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post.

Decommitted from Pitt for Nebraska, then decommitted from Nebraska. Also, 'murica.


Nothing embeddable. Does have a hudl page.

Wait… what is… three stars? Is that how you say? What? Yes, it's true: some recruiting services think a 2013 Michigan offensive line commit is a middling prospect. We cannot use the well-established script this time out. Panic!


Even so, Samuelson was decently well regarded for… uh… three stars. He got a fourth from Scout and was the first guy with three at 247. In our hybrid eyeballin' star system he'd get 3.5. This would qualify as a lot of Big Ten teams' highest-rated lineman. Here he's sixth. Viva Brady Hoke.

Samuelson watchwords include "blue-collar," "tough," etc. Trieu:

“Absolutely he could bring with him toughness and a blue-collar work ethic. He really has the mental makeup of an offensive lineman. He’s a hard worker and a tough kid. He is a grind it out and get the job done kind of player.

“Samuelson is not going to go to any combines and put up ridiculous numbers. He’s not going to have that stellar 40-time or shuttle time, but he’s the kind of player that you win with especially in the Big Ten."

It does say something that the primary teams on him before Hoke swooped in were Pitt, now in possession of the Wisconsin offensive braintrust, and Nebraska. Scout liked those grinding aspects enough to bump him to four stars, again emphasizing he is a "tough, hard-nosed lineman" and his "blue collar" nature.

ESPN's evaluation is pretty positive relative to their "meh" rankings:

Is quick out of his stance when releasing up on linebackers or pulling to trap; flashes the ability to reach on offset down linemen and get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders. Can get tossed at times needing to improve his agility and balance when playing in space. This guy is a tough customer who finishes with the effort we like to see when evaluating offensive linemen. His long arms should be and asset in pass protection.

They have a lot of technique questions and think he's a little bit stiff, FWIW. That evaluation conflicts with some others, which—get this—actually say a high school lineman has good pad level. Josh Helmholdt:

"He's an above average athlete for the position. He really moves his feet well. He plays with great leverage. I think that something that really stands out in his film is that he's always up underneath the pads of the defensive lineman. He just does a lot of things well. I wouldn't say there's any one thing that makes you say 'wow', he's just a well-rounded offensive line prospect."

I think a high school lineman underneath dudes pads is a wow experience but like okay. Clint Brewster also praised his "well above average technique" and mean ol' block finishing—another pattern. A negative: Samuelson's team barely passed, so protection is an unknown. Another from Allen Trieu:

"He plays at a small school that is a little bit in the middle of nowhere. It took some schools some time to find out about him. I think that one of the major areas of concern that was holding schools back from offering was level of competition."

As the scouts say, this is the kind of guy Wisconsin and Nebraska have plucked out of the Midwest for years. His weird recruitment—a quick commit to Pitt followed by a decommit to Nebraska and a decommit to Michigan, no camps at all—is of the variety that holds down reported offers and scouting interest.

At Michigan, Samuelson will play… somewhere. ESPN's profile contains a first:

Samuelson plays effectively at the guard position showing the upper body playing strength needed to control defenders when single blocking. However his size and athleticism appears better suited for the offensive tackle position.

His coach agrees.

"We run the football a lot, but Dan is really long and his arms are long. If you look at him you'd say he was a tackle, but he plays guard for us. So he could play anywhere. I think the sky's the limit for Dan. I think that he could be a real special player on the next level."

Scout projects him at guard, FWIW. The point is Samuelson also comes off the 6'5" swing guy assembly line and could play anywhere on the line according to Funk. Given the recruiting rankings and the odd fact that his high school used him on the inside—almost never the case for high-level D-I prospects—he's probably going to end up at guard, technically. Michigan seems to go with a next-guy-in setup that has sixth and seventh linemen that will pull into the lineup no matter who goes out. Samuelson will train at guard and tackle.

It does seem like Samuelson will stick around even if the depth chart looks brutal for much of his career. Staying close to his family was a major reason he decommitted from the Huskers and he knew what he was signing up for when he made that decision. His coach:

"The thing that separates Dan from a lot of the other kids is he wants to be good. Sometimes you get a big kid that's a superior athlete at the high school level, they're 17 or 18 years old, and they don't have a real strong work ethic. Dan wants to be good, he wants to prove himself. I think that's something that's going to carry him over when he gets into that program and into that strength training program, I think he's going to do really well."

Even if he doesn't start for a while, having a kid like that in your back pocket is a huge asset.

Etc.: The pattern from his coach:

He has been a multiple sport athlete in high school, and he is a great kid.  He has never been in trouble, he is a really good student and he has got all of the intangibles.  He looks the part… I can tell you that.”

Why Rueben Riley? Riley was a G/T swing guy who probably should have been a guard but was forced into action as a not-very-good right tackle, where his pass protection was exposed. His athleticism was pretty meh, his recruiting rankings in the generic three-star range.

Samuelson has an inch or two on Riley and could have higher upside on the outside with his long arms. I'm just looking for a run-oriented swing guy with middling recruiting rankings. OL YMRMFSPAs are hard.

Guru Reliability: Low. Relatively large swing in opinions, zero camps, not a highly scouted area.

Variance: High. Poor competition in Indiana, never really pass blocked.

Ceiling: Moderate. Punt!

General Excitement Level: Sorry sorry sorry: low. OL are weird and all that but I'm finding it hard to see a situation where Samuelson sees the field early given the strenuous competition. See below. Not that Samuelson cares what I think:

"I'm not scared at all (of the competition)," the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Samuelson said by phone this week. "I knew who's there, and that they're great, but it never scared me. I never looked at it that way.

"I looked at it like two years down the road, this school could be like Alabama, where no one can stop us because of our line."

Projection: Is OL, redshirt.

Then he's in the melee. Seems to be a heavy underdog to start as a redshirt freshman, and if that doesn't happen he's got a wait in front of him. The 2014 line projects to be a junior (Miller), three sophomores (Braden, Magnuson, Kalis), and a freshman (no idea but Bosch or Dawson if you put a gun to my head). If those projections are wrong the net effect will be to make the line younger, not older, unless Chris Bryant comes out of nowhere.

So… Samuelson is probably hanging around as the seventh or eighth lineman for a long time, with injury and washout his best shot at starting until he's a fifth year player. But OL are weird, you know the drill.



July 5th, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

"I looked at it like two years down the road, this school could be like Alabama, where no one can stop us because of our line."
Rock on Dan Samuelson


July 5th, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

A year ago at this time, Braden was the meh 3-star (no fourth star from anyone) who we assumed would be well behind the other OL in his class, and he's an easy second in that group just one year later. Samuelson could totally do the same thing.


July 5th, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

Fine, but the recruiting sites (as well as the Midwest college coaches) were higher in Samuelson, so it's possible once they all show up he exceeds his expectations as well. Like Braden, Samuelson is from an area that doesn't produce a ton of D1 talent so he's likely a bit under-scouted as well. It's also rather telling that the coaches went after him after having a crazy OL haul already.

I'm not predicting he'll be a star, just that it wouldn't be crazy for him to emerge from this group as one of the top guys.


July 5th, 2013 at 3:04 PM ^

Braden showed up on last year's fall roster at 308, and the top of this post lists Samuelson at 290, but I'm assuming that's not current. Even at 18 pounds, it's hard to say that's a HUGE size advantage. And I wasn't saying who was more likely to contribute early, just that, like Braden, Samuelson could be a guy who outdoes his rankings.

People have been quick to assume he's the kid in this class who will get squeezed out, but Nebraska wanted him and our coaches wanted him even though we had 5 elite guys already in the fold. What I'm saying is that he'll hold his own with the rest of those guys.


July 5th, 2013 at 4:26 PM ^

Agreed.  The staff feels he can compete for playing time.  OL are not always easy to project.  This kid could keep developing and be an All-B1G player someday....or transfer to a smaller school.  We don't know, but he's got a chance and some nice attributes to build on.


July 5th, 2013 at 5:30 PM ^

Agreed....and This topic makes me want to to root very hard for him over the others, if not only for the fact that the way too many people including the OP talk here its that they are already pigeonholing Samuelson to be a lesser OL and even mention a transfer. Its guys like these who MSU used the past four of five yrs to beat us too.


July 5th, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

I'm pulling for him. He's not afraid to compete. Sounds like someone who will go out and work his butt off. He might not end up a stalwart on the line for multiple years but will probably push a lot of guys.


July 5th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

His ceiling may not be as high as other linemen, and he's not thre freak that everyone will want to have start right away, but guys like this are huge from a program standpoint. Nebraska and Wisconsin have used guys like this for years, and let's not forget the abyss that was David Molk's injury. OL depth is huge, and there are a lot worse things than a scholarship education to Michigan. Dan will have his chance just like all the other OL, and with the character of all of these guys it's not like he will do anything but improve the team.

Blue in Yarmouth

July 5th, 2013 at 1:26 PM ^

I mean, how many walk-ons have we had on the depth chart on the oline the past few years. I think what this signifies is exactly what Dan was talking about in that we are moving in the direction of the Alabama's of the world on the oline. Now our depth is no longer going to be the walk-ons, it's going to be guys that would start at many other programs in the B1G. I like the way things are going.

Also, I'm not trying to say he doesn't have a shot to play because I don't have that kind of insight in the way of analysing talent in football. All I mean is if he doesn't we have good depth and if he does, we have even higher ranked depth. Nice to have IMHE.


July 5th, 2013 at 1:37 PM ^

Samuelson seems to epitomize the kind of player who gets overlooked by the recruiting services.  He plays at a small school, there's not a lot of film on him, what little film there is shows him pass blocking just once, and he didn't do the camp circuit. So, 3 star seems a safe place to rank him.  He's too big and athletic to get ranked a two star, and there's not enough data to rank him higher.

But with his size, intelligence, and drive, I wouldn't be surprised to see him as a starter in a few years.


July 5th, 2013 at 2:15 PM ^

We need an excitement level for "This will be the guy who appears to stick around for 7 years and trots out everytime someone is shaken up."  He even has the name for it.  


July 5th, 2013 at 5:54 PM ^

Because of the offense Plymouth runs/ran, Samuelson pretty much has to have good pad level. You can see it in his stance. Linemen in option-heavy offenses like Georgia Tech, Air Force, etc. put a lot of weight on their front hand to get off the ball quickly and get good leverage, since they're so run-oriented. If you get in your stance properly - something that's easily coached - then you're probably going to do pretty well in the category of "pad level." It's a little more difficult in other offenses that might be 60/40 run or 50/50 where linemen have to get in a balanced stance so as not to telegraph the play call.

It's certainly not a bad thing that Helmholdt praises Samuelson's pad level, but it should be taken with a grain of salt. Darrell Funk is going to have him in a significantly different stance once he gets to Michigan.


July 6th, 2013 at 6:49 PM ^

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