COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio State’s 2017 roster continues to take shape, the Buckeyes now know they’ll be replacing a major part of both their passing and rushing game in the coming year.
Ohio State H-back Curtis Samuel will declare for the 2017 NFL draft. Bucknuts.com’s Dave Biddle first reported the news. A Land of 10 source close to the situation confirmed Samuel’s decision.
A key part of the Buckeyes’ run to the 2016 College Football Playoff, Samuel tallied team-highs of 1,655 yards from scrimmage and 15 touchdowns in his junior season. Playing ‘the Percy Harvin position’ in Urban Meyer’s offense, OSU used Samuel as a threat both on the ground and in the air, as he tallied 865 receiving yards and 771 rushing yards in 2016.
Samuel’s 74 receptions on the season were the most of any Buckeye since David Boston’s 85 in 1998.
At 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, Samuel’s future at the pro level is likely as a hybrid player who can play both out of the slot and the backfield. WalterFootball.com currently ranks Samuel as its No. 4 receiver in the 2017 draft and a projected first or second-round pick.
In October, Bleacher Report NFL draft analyst Matt Miller wrote of Samuel: “As far as dual-threat wide receivers go, there isn’t a better one in college than Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel. It’s easy to see him in Urban Meyer’s offense and have flashbacks to a young Percy Harvin at the University of Florida.”
It’s a comparison Samuel became plenty familiar with throughout his college career. Now he’ll see if he can replicate the 2009 first-round pick’s success in the NFL.
As for the Buckeyes, look for running back Demario McCall to slide to an H-back role in his sophomore season. In limited playing time, McCall tallied 354 yards (270 rushing, 84 receiving) and four touchdowns in his freshman season. Former OSU co-offensive coordinator Tim Beck compared McCall’s early flashes to Samuel.
“He’s probably similar to a young Curtis Samuel,” Beck said in November. “Curtis was a little bit like that when he was a freshman, feeling his way through.”
Beck also added of McCall: “He has the ability to take one to the house at any time.”
Last month, McCall confirmed his plans to move to H-back to Land of 10.
“Heading into my sophomore year, I’ll be more like an H-back and punt returner and kick returner,” he said. “And from there, whatever happens, happens.”