HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Stanford Samuels III doesn’t have to look far for an encouraging word when things aren’t going right on the football field.
After all, his father—former Florida State corner Stanford Samuels Jr.—coaches his son at Flanagan High School in Hollywood, Florida, as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator.
Around campus, father and son are known as “Boosie” and “B.J.”—an ode to the elder Samuels’ childhood nickname, with B.J. being the shortened version of “Boosie Jr.”
The younger Samuels, who is the nation’s No. 4 corner and the No. 32 player overall, acknowledges his dad’s presence as an advantage that has helped him learn the finer details of playing the game.
“[It’s great] just having somebody who has been there and who has the experience at the position that I play,” Samuels told Bleacher Report. “Just being able to get pointers from him when I’m stuck in one place, having someone who has the expertise helps me out a lot.”
Their football bond was forged while Boosie was in college at FSU. He fondly remembers bringing his son around practice when he was a defensive back in Tallahassee from 1999 to 2003.
Back then, former ‘Noles receivers such as Anquan Boldin would be throwing passes to B.J. in between reps of one-on-one sessions between the receivers and defensive backs in the offseason.
“The receivers took to him for some reason, and they would take turns throwing to him,” Boosie recalls. “[B.J.] would imitate them with the way he would make catches, and they would be amazed at how he caught the ball. He was advanced back then. You could tell he was really into the game.”
Fast-forward to present day, and the 6’2”, 175-pounder has earned a reputation as being one of the nation’s top corners in a loaded 2017 class, which is a spot he always expected to be in growing up.
“I’ve been playing football since I was born,” B.J. said. “[My father] put a football in my hands. Since I was born, that’s what I’ve loved to do. I always expected to be here because that was what was expected of me growing up.”
With more than 40 offers to his credit entering the spring, colleges from coast to coast are coming after him hard.
Of course, Florida State—who had him on campus for its junior day last month—is the school that most observers feel is the heavy favorite to land him, according to 247Sports' "crystal ball" predictions. However, he’s in no rush to proclaim a favorite at this time.
“I don’t have a top group. But a couple schools [are pushing hard for me],” B.J. said. “I would say Georgia, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma and Clemson.”
Still, B.J.—who noted that he’s spent time in the offseason studying film on Seminoles defensive backs Derwin James and Jalen Ramsey—admits that Florida State has his attention because of the program’s recent success under head coach Jimbo Fisher.
“[FSU] are used to winning. They are always going to win and produce great players. They always develop guys that go on to the NFL. They have a great coaching staff. It’s a lot of things that stand out with their program,” B.J. said.
He’s also in the process of planning out his visits in the coming weeks and months ahead.
“I know sometime in the near future, I will be going to Georgia. I think I will get up to Maryland sometime soon. I am trying to get up to Michigan, and I think I will go up to Alabama soon also,” he said.
One program that could be a legit threat to pull him away from the ‘Noles is Michigan—who landed Seminoles legacy and former Flanagan teammate Devin Bush Jr. in the 2016 cycle.
Additionally, the Wolverines recently hired Devin Bush Sr.—who was the head coach at Flanagan from 2013 to 2015—as a defensive analyst.
“That definitely helps just knowing that I can always feel at home with Coach Bush already there and those guys I grew up with. That would be great if I do decide to go to Michigan,” B.J. said. “But at this point, I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t affect my decision.”
Similarly, his ties to FSU may loom large to outsiders, but B.J. and his father maintain that it won’t play a role in his decision.
“He has to choose the best path for him,” Boosie said. “Because it was the spot for me doesn’t mean it will be the right spot for him. Our family has history at the school. It would be great. I’m sure my family is rooting for it [to happen], but again, it goes back to the understanding that this is a business, and he has to make the best business decision for him. This is the most important decision that he will make.”
B.J., who reports a 3.7 GPA with plans to enroll early at his school of choice, hasn’t decided on a potential major yet, but business management is a possibility.
Academics is just one part of the formula he will be looking for in the school he ultimately decides to commit to.
“It’s not one main factor that will be the most important in my decision. [There are] several things that will tie into which school I choose,” B.J. said. “Right now, I’m just looking at all the schools interested in me and getting all the information I need on them. When it’s time to make a decision, I’ll be ready for it when the time comes.”
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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