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Four-star cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. signs with Florida State

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The NFL legacy was committed for over half a year before finalizing his pledge.

Asante Samuel
Student Sports

New Florida State head coach Willie Taggart has done well to retain some of the recruits Jimbo Fisher landed before departing for Texas A&M. One of the biggest in this category is Asante Samuel Jr., who signed with FSU during December’s Early Signing Period, well ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Samuel, a consensus four-star cornerback, held off late advances from Miami to sign with FSU.

What locked up the blue-chip recruit? Samuel explains:

“Coach Taggart just keeps it real, and it’s easier to relate to him than other coaches because he’s kind of hip to the game. He knows what us young, black, African-American kids are going through.”

Samuel is ranked as the No. 60 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, the No. 9 cornerback, and the No. 12 player from the state of Florida according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Measuring 5’9.5 and 166 pounds, Samuels played his high school football at one of Florida’s powerhouse programs, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Samuel’s name is one you might recognize. His father and namesake played his college football at UCF before an 11-year NFL career from 2003-2013 which saw him make four Pro Bowls and win a pair of Super Bowls, both with the New England Patriots.

Samuel committed to FSU back in April and chose the Seminoles over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and LSU. As a senior at Aquinas, Samuel had 32 tackles, three pass deflections, an interception and five blocked kicks (two punts, three field goals).

Here’s our breakdown of Asante’s game after watching his film:

Two things jump off the screen when watching Asante Samuel Jr: his competitive nature and his ability in coverage. Evidence of his passion for the game can be seen throughout his film. Whether it’s him challenging receivers at the line of scrimmage or his contributions on special teams including blocking kicks, returning punts, or blocking for his teammates; Samuel wants to win every snap. Despite his smaller frame, he also does not shy away from contact, playing with a natural brand of physicality that any defensive coach would covet.

In press coverage, Samuel has some of the best technique you will see on a high school film. He is patient at the line, smooth with his feet to mirror, stay square and cut off the wide receiver while using his hands to disrupt the timing of routes. He is already elite in these areas and this helps him overcome his lack of long speed and remain in phase with receivers. [If you can stay in front of the receiver with patience and effective use of hands and feet, it is hard for that receiver to run by you.] He also shows the quickness and awareness to stay on the receiver’s hip on stop routes like hitches, curls, comebacks and has a few clips on film effectively playing the backshoulder fade. Length will also be a concern against bigger, longer receivers but Samuel does a good job playing through receivers’ hands at the catch point and has excellent body control to be able to leave his feet and defend passes at the high point. In the few clips we see of Samuel in off coverage, he plays an open shuffle technique and shows good awareness in reading the QB, handling multiple receivers in his zone and playing the ball in the air.

Samuel will step on campus and Florida State and immediately have some of the best coverage technique on the roster. This makes him a candidate to play outside corner or a nickel role over the slot and as he gets in the weight room and becomes more familiar with the playbook, expect this recruit to get on the field early for the Seminoles.

Our picks as to where the rest of the Seminoles targets will sign on Wednesday? Check it out: