Asante Samuel Jr. slipped to the middle of the pack through put up-apply sprints in Florida Point out University’s drop football camp.
But after a discussion with defensive coordinator Adam Fuller, Samuel hardly ever let it transpire once again.
“I just allow him know in order for you to be the participant that you want to be and the participant we need you to be, which is not how that needs to stop observe with the conditioning, and from that day on, I in no way noticed him end anywhere but at the entrance of the group, if not to start with,” Fuller claimed in a recent telephone interview with the Beacon Journal. “It didn’t just take a lot. You just experienced to let him know what that common was.
“You in no way had to address it once again. I really don’t believe that’s a knock on him. That just goes to clearly show what are the anticipations, and then he’s eager to do whichever it is.”
Whichever staff picks Samuel in the April 29-May 1 NFL Draft will also have superior expectations for the standout cornerback. He is projected to turn into a initial- or next-spherical range and could interest the Browns, who have a need at his position and decisions late in the initially two rounds (Nos. 26 and 59 all round).
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If Samuel just isn’t Cleveland-bound, he’ll seem ahead to matching up a person working day with the Browns’ most significant-profile huge receiver.
“There are a lot of terrific receivers in the NFL. Week by 7 days, you can go up against Odell Beckham [Jr. of the Browns], Julio Jones [of the Atlanta Falcons], Stefon Diggs [of the Buffalo Bills]. I can name a great deal,” Samuel stated final month by way of Zoom all through his pro working day media session. “But whoever I enjoy initial, that is who I want to make my name off of.”
Samuel won’t have a challenge with identify recognition, however. His father, Asante Samuel Sr., played cornerback for 11 seasons (2003-13) in the NFL, created four Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, who drafted him in the fourth spherical out of the College of Central Florida.
“He just attempted to enable me do my individual factor,” the younger Samuel mentioned. “He just attempted to permit me make my possess journey and just assisted me a very little bit through the way.”
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Samuel, 21, attended St. Thomas Aquinas Significant College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where by the football staff captured a condition championship in every single of his to start with three years there. His 3 seasons at Florida Point out weren’t as profitable — with records of 5-7 in 2018, 6-7 in 2019 and 3-6 in 2020 — yet he felt the responsibility of becoming the team’s ideal player this earlier yr, when he served as a captain and coach Mike Norvell challenged him to turn out to be a much more vocal chief.
“Asante’s an emotional participant in a positive way,” said Fuller, whom Florida Point out employed on Dec. 12, 2019. “He’s not one to discuss a good deal or operate his mouth, but he is really passionate about football. So if matters are likely very well, he’s likely to offer a good deal of power. If points aren’t heading effectively, you are heading to see him attempt to clear up it with his possess strength and consider to make a engage in or generate that.
“I imagine he’s got a tiny at the rear of-the-scenes leadership to him, but he is absolutely a lot more of a ‘do as I do, not as I say’ identity, which I imagine is a good detail and one that you see a lot more DBs have than not, just simply because they are on the perimeter and commonly you have men a minor additional focused on to by themselves with their enjoy.”
Samuel’s play improved in his 3 collegiate seasons, the previous two as a total-time starter. He surrendered six touchdown passes in 2018, but just two across his remaining 20 online games, Dane Brugler, an analyst for The Athletic, wrote in his draft guide. According to ProFootballFocus.com, the passer rankings Samuel authorized on balls thrown into his protection dropped each and every year: 109.1 in 2018, 75 in 2019 and 46.2 in 2020.
As a junior in 2020, Samuel commenced all eight online games in which he appeared and compiled 31 tackles, three interceptions, 6 pass breakups, a compelled fumble and two fumble recoveries. He opted out after eight video games and declared for the draft (he had skipped just one other sport at Florida Point out). He was voted initial-staff All-ACC.
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Fuller concluded Samuel “has the make-up to be a seriously good” NFL player.
“There’s fellas that are just proficient adequate, but usually are not mentally talented adequate to deal with what it usually takes every day to turn out to be a thriving professional,” Fuller reported. “Maybe it’s from rising up about it, but the moment will not be far too large for him.
“He’s extremely significantly into producing his craft, working at it, competing. So from that standpoint, he is incredibly severe. He is absolutely keen to pay attention to fantastic tips and implement it. He wants to do things the proper way. I assume all round you might be receiving a man which is experienced to do the issues he wants to do in get to be successful in the activity he enjoys.”
At 5-foot-10 and 180 lbs ., Samuel is approximately the similar dimensions as Browns standout cornerback Denzel Ward. Samuel credits his rigorous nature for allowing him to fare perfectly against receivers who are substantially much larger.
“You have to have a dawg mentality,” said Samuel, who posted an unofficial time of 4.38 seconds in the 40-property dash in the course of Florida State’s professional working day. “Some even bigger guys, they don’t have that dawg in them, so the moment you have that dawg, it will make a variance. You’ve got just obtained to remain real to your techniques you’ve got been working on all 7 days — being sq. at the line, making certain you might be getting palms on [them] and accomplishing what you need to have to do.”
Fuller reported there were not as well a lot of times Samuel acquired outjumped for passes. He had 33 passes defensed in 32 online games at Florida Condition.
Under Fuller, Florida Condition commonly played person protection. Most of Samuel’s interceptions transpired when Fuller mixed in zone coverage.
“He’s bought the velocity to be equipped to enjoy person protection, but I do feel he is got superior come to feel and fantastic instincts to be able to participate in some zone protection,” Fuller mentioned. “It’s all essential. All people performs both. He’s definitely bought a knack for currently being close to the ball and finishing plays in zone protection.
“He receives from A to B with really minimal squandered motion, so I assume his closing pace and his acceleration is genuinely significant conclusion.”
Fuller stated he also believes Samuel’s quickness and change of course would make him a good slot corner at the future degree. In faculty, Samuel played 1,454 snaps at exterior corner as opposed with just 196 snaps in the slot, according to PFF. The break up very last time was 466 and 15.
“Of program, I truly feel like I am an outside the house guy. I have been participating in outside the house all my existence,” Samuel said. “I performed nickel in some cases, [111 snaps] my sophomore [year and 70 snaps my] freshman calendar year, but at the conclusion of the working day, I make my performs on the outside the house. I experience like I’m a dominant corner on the outside.
“[Draft analysts] attempt to seem at my top and say items of that nature, but I am the exact same measurement as [Green Bay Packers Pro Bowler] Jaire Alexander, and he’s a dominant NFL cornerback right now — one of the very best in the league. So I truly feel like dimension would not make any difference. It really is about the heart and the dawg mentality you have on that field.”
Those attributes should assistance Samuel evolve as a tackler.
“There were some video games his tackling wasn’t to the stage that he wanted to be,” Fuller claimed. “But the excellent point about him is usually at the time you coach him, it will get set right away, whether or not it’s approach, no matter if it is really an angle, irrespective of whether it really is an assignment.”
By PFF’s count, Samuel missed 5 tackles previous time.
“You can not just be a deal with corner and anticipate to thrive in the NFL or in school,” Samuel stated. “You have to be a tackling corner, so I pleasure myself in tackling.”
The conventional will only grow to be additional demanding in the NFL, but Fuller considers Samuel prepared.
Nate Ulrich can be attained at email@example.com.