Central's Traveon Samuel talks about recruiting process

July 18, 2013 

This is the first of a series of Q&As with some of the top football recruits in the Bi-City.

Some people consider Traveon Samuel a wide receiver. It's easy to understand why: He finished with 788 receiving yards and four touchdowns for Central High last season.

But most think of him as a running back. He rushed for 647 yards and 16 touchdowns and gets most of his college recruitment for that position.

And then there are those who split the difference and call him an athlete.

Samuel doesn't care, he said, as long as he has the ball in his hands.

The do-it-all junior, who has 17 college scholarship offers, spoke to the Ledger-Enquirer's David Mitchell on Wednesday to discuss football, recruiting and his remaining goals in his final two seasons with the Red Devils.

How are you, man? Offseason been going all right?

It's going really good. We've had a couple breaks this month for the Fourth of July and the dead week, but we've had some good practices over the summer.

I know you've been to a couple of football camps this summer. Have you made any college visits?

No college visits, but, yeah, I did make it to a couple of camps.

Tell me about the camps. Which ones did you go to?

I went to Vanderbilt, Alabama and Florida State. I was going to go to North Carolina, South Carolina and Kentucky, too, but I didn't make it to those. It was a great experience. I got to talk to the coaches and find out how they see me in college. Most of them see me as an athlete right now. A few say they'd play me at running back; some say wide receiver. I don't really care, I just want the ball in my hands.

I know you picked up an offer from Florida State when you were down there. How many offers does that make for you?

That's 17.

Quite a few. You think you can name them all off the top of your head?

(Laughing) I don't know, it's tough. There's Alabama, Auburn, UAB, South Florida, Ohio State, LSU, Duke, Tennessee, Clemson, Cal, South Carolina, Washington State, FSU, Mississippi State, Minnesota. Did I get them all? I think that's it, maybe. It's pretty tough.

That's a real who's who of colleges there. Lots of great programs. Is it kind of overwhelming to have this attention and all these opportunities after just two years in high school?

It kind of is. I never knew I'd be at this stage in football. Growing up, there was always someone better than me, so it's surprising. I've just worked hard and it's paid off.

Have you narrowed down a list of favorites yet? Say, your top five schools?

I have, yeah. I'd put Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Florida State and Clemson into my top five.

In that order?

In order, I'd say Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State.

People look for different things in their school. Some want to play early, others prefer the coaches, some want championships and some want a program to prepare them for the NFL. What would you say are the biggest things you're looking at?

First off, I'm looking for a good education, somewhere I know will prepare me for after football so that I've got something to fall back on. I'm also looking for early playing time and a good fit. I really like playing in a spread offense.

You've got Clemson and Ohio State and Auburn in your top five that kind of fit that bill. What makes Alabama your No. 1?

Basically, Alabama is like a dream school. I grew up as an Alabama fan and always wanted to play for them as a kid. As I started playing, I knew it wasn't necessarily the same style of play, but it's just a great school. I really like Oregon -- that was the type of offense I'd really like to play for, but they haven't offered.

If they offered, would they jump into your top five?

Yeah, I think so.

We've talked a lot about colleges and all that, but you still have two years left at Central. What would you like to accomplish there before you graduate?

I really just want to go to state. I know we have the talent and the ability to do that. Individually, my goals are like 25-30 touchdowns and 2,000-2,500 yards.

You'll obviously be a focal point of the offense. Do you think you can shoulder that load as a junior?

I can. With some changes to the offense, our quarterback not returning, I know I can step up and shoulder the load.

Do you think you guys can contend right away this year?

Definitely. We still have a lot of things to work on, but we've got time. I think we can do well. We'll see how things go as we get into the season.

David Mitchell, 706-571-8571; Follow David @leprepsports.

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