FORT LAUDERDALE – Asante Samuel Jr. made his decision.
On Thursday, the 2018 St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback verbally committed to Florida State. He was choosing between the Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes. Ohio State and LSU were also two college programs high on his radar prior to him making a “Top 2″ list.
Samuel Jr. told me that FSU made him feel like family during his unofficial visit with his father Asante Samuel Sr. back in February and again with his mother at the Garnet and Gold game last Saturday.
At 5’10”, 173 lbs., Samuel Jr. had his pick of the litter with just around 40 offers on his plate.
He points to his instincts, savageness and will to win as his biggest strengths. Florida State is certainly aware of those attributes when turning on his film or seeing him play in person. He plays big in key situations.
Samuel Jr. has seven interceptions and 19 pass breakups in three seasons for the Raiders. He also has three blocked field goals, one blocked extra point and a forced fumble. He’s aiming to reel in more interceptions after recording two as a junior.
“I want to win every rep, every game and at everything,” Samuel Jr. said.
St. Thomas Aquinas won its 10th state title this past season with a 45-6 win over Plant in the Class 7A championship (STORY). The Raiders became the second school in Florida to reach the double-digit mark. Bolles leads the way with 11.
For Samuel Jr., he’s captured three straight state championships and a national title this year. He called it a true blessing.
“Some people don’t get to go through that, winning three state championships and a national championship,” he said. “It’s just a blessing to have teammates and coaches that love football.”
Samuel Jr. had this to say when I asked him if any of the state titles are different or if it changes from year to year.
“It gets better every year,” he said. “You face different type of adversity, a different type of success, you can’t compare any of them.”
To win a fourth straight title this upcoming season is something Samuel Jr. would be proud of.
“That would be an amazing accomplishment,” he said. “I don’t think too many people in Florida or Broward County have done that.”
Starting his football career at the age of 5, Samuel Jr. was a quarterback up until high school. He started to play cornerback on top of his duties as a passer in his last two seasons of little league.
In terms of guidance, Samuel Jr. said his father tells him to stay humble. Samuel Sr was an 11-year NFL veteran, two-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowler who starred at UCF before entering the NFL in 2003 in the fourth round.
His biggest role model is his mother, who he lives with in Ft. Lauderdale.
“She’s a strong woman,” Samuel Jr. said. “She’s been through a lot and she always keeps a smile on my face. That motivates me.”
Samuel Jr. calls playing for head coach Roger Harriott, a nice experience. In two years under Harriot, St. Thomas Aquinas is 26-3, winning two state titles.
“He [Harriott] really promotes the bible, God and faith,” he said. “We always have faith no matter what.”
College scouts and coaches visit the St. Thomas Aquinas campus often for practices and games. Most players would feel a little nervous with that. However, Samuel Jr. says it’s not pressure, it’s competition.
He also pointed out the intense practices the team had. 2017 quarterback Jake Allen, a Florida commit had a stellar high school career. Samuel Jr. said Allen knew not to throw to his side because he would pick him off he did.
For his ultimate goal, Samuel Jr. wants to take football as far as he can and be the best at it. He plans to study sports communications in college.
Confident, humble and fun. Those are three key things that stand out about Samuel Jr. He always plays with a fierce competitiveness and a smile on his face. It’s hard not to when you win so much at St. Thomas Aquinas.
He’s prepared for life ahead in Tallahassee and there’s no doubt that he’ll thrive. He holds his own at his size. Samuel Jr. plays bigger than his height and he lets his heart and pure athleticism flourish. He joins Wesley Chapel’s Isaiah Bolden as the second 2018 cornerback commit for FSU.
Playlist before games – Kodak Black and Young Jeezy
Favorite movies – Friday
Favorite TV shows – First 48
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I love barbecue chicken. It doesn’t matter where it’s from, I’ll eat that every day of the week.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Zont”
Game film: Samuel’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.