Name: Kayton Samuels
Position: Nose Tackle
Year: (Redshirt) Freshman
Hometown: Ellenwood, Ga.
High School: Arabia Mountain
2014 Stats: Samuels redshirted last year, so no stats. He did pretty well in high school, as you might have guessed (since he's here and all).
2015 Projections: Kayton's currently at the top of the post-spring two-deep at nose tackle. Pretty impressive stuff from a guy who didn't suit up for Syracuse at all last season. He's down a few pounds from when he first arrived on campus, but the staff has faith he can slot in at nose tackle to start 2015 (right now, anyway). You should be excited about his potential to fill Eric Crume's shoes.
How'd He Get Here:
He was all set to head to local option Georgia State, then they asked him to greyshirt. He didn't want that (obviously), and that allowed him to fall into our laps on signing day in 2014. (Somehow the wrong info was relayed into this section for two straight years) Kayton himself clears things up: Georgia State was interested, but he chose Syracuse over other options like Maryland, Indiana and Boise State.
What'd Recruiting Sites Say: Two stars apiece from Scout and Rivals. Three from 247Sports.
Money Quote: Want to find someone super-motivated? Just look below (from a recent Syracuse.com article on Samuels):
"Every day, every single year I have to prove to the coaches that they made the right decision to give me a scholarship. Constant drive, not only just to prove to myself or my coaches, but to everyone. Continue to make my mom proud, get my degree. I guess (there's) a lot of weight on my shoulders, but I love it."
Links of Wonder: ESPN's ACC blog listed him as a potential breakout performer this year. That's cool.
Tweets Of Wonder: High praise.
Shafer: "The guy that probably had the best spring (on defense) was Kayton Samuels." Compared his work ethic to current Giant Jay Bromley.— Matt Schneidman (@matt_schneidman) May 20, 2015
What Does Scott Shafer Think Of Him: Shafer loves him, as you might have noticed above. He referred to Samuels as the most improved defensive player on the team this offseason:
"Up front, we have great competition there," Shafer said. "I was really pleased with a couple of our young guys. Kayton Samuels did a nice job. In some respects he might have been the most improved player on defense."
Interesting Nugget O'Interest: Samuels was a surprise commit to SU on National Signing Day, which is a rarity for the school.
Let's Get A Good Look Atcha: