‘Do-it-all Dog’ Richard Samuel coming through for Georgia again

It looked like Richard Samuel's career at tailback was going to take off when he broke off this 80-yard touchdown run against Arkansas in 2009. (AP photo)

It looked like Richard Samuel's career at tailback was going to take off when he broke off this 80-yard touchdown run against Arkansas in 2009. (AP photo)

Athens – Richard Samuel has a reputation for being the ultimate team player for Georgia, and deservedly so. Since arriving in Athens as a 17-year-old in 2008, he has been asked to change positions — and accepted those requests — three times due to depth issues on one side of the ball or the other.

As the page turns to 2012, Samuel is coming to the rescue again. With the recent dismissal of tailback Isaiah Crowell, Samuel is going to be asked to pick up the slack at that position this fall. Samuel had his mind set on playing fullback this fall, but now he will work “primarily” at tailback, according to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, especially in the early going.

“I don’t think too much about it,” said Samuel as he signed autographs during Countdown to Kickoff at UGA this past Saturday. “Back in the spring I was preparing for both, tailback and fullback. So now it looks like I’ll be leaning more to tailback, which is fine. But I hope I get some time at fullback. I don’t want it to be like linebacker where I prepared for linebacker but never got to rep at it. So I’m just hoping I get a little mix of fullback in there.”

When Samuel (6-foot-2, 243 pounds) signed with the Bulldogs out of Bartow County’s Cass High in 2008, he came in as a 5-star prospect who could play either running back or linebacker. What position he should play in college was a hotly-debated topic. In order to win his recruiting battle, the Bulldogs said they’d leave it up to him and, as these things tend to turn out, Samuel chose to run the football.

It wasn’t necessarily a bad decision. Samuel played in 11 games as a true freshman backup to All-SEC tailback Knowshon Moreno. He finished with 133 yards on 26 carries (5.1 ypc average) and had 401 yards on kickoff returns.

Samuel took over as the starter in 2009 after Moreno left for the NFL and was impressive early on. He had an 80-yard TD run and finished with 104 yards at Arkansas in Game 3. But he fell behind Caleb King and Washaun Ealey and lost the No. 1 spot by midseason.

The decision was made the next year to switch Samuel to defense and he was redshirted in order to acclimate to the new position. Samuel was sharing reps with Alec Ogletree at “Mo” inside linebacker through spring practice and was looking forward to playing defense in 2011. But before the Bulldogs could get to preseason camp, Ealey was pointed toward the door, King flunked out and Carlton Thomas was suspended for the opening game.

So the coaches turned to Samuel and asked him if he’d be willing to come back to offense to help out. As has been his inclination, Samuel answered the call. He started three games at tailback, played in eight and, for all practical purposes, won the Florida game for the Bulldogs when he rushed for 58 yards and scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 24-20 victory. Unfortunately for Georgia, Samuel injured an ankle on the last play of the Florida game. He had ankle surgery the next week and missed the next five games.

Heading into this year, Georgia seemed set at tailback with the return of Crowell, Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton and the additions of highly-rated signees Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs also lost fullback Bruce Figgins to graduation. So Samuel was pretty happy about the coaches’ decision to cross-train him at fullback with the idea of him primarily playing that position this fall.

“I like contact,” Samuel said. “Fullback is close to linebacker to me so I enjoy that as well. I enjoy the contact part of it.”

Then came the Crowell catastrophe and Samuel finds himself back at square one.

“I’ve talked to [running backs coach Bryan] McClendon about it and he says it’ll be interchangeable,” Samuel said. “He said I might be the fullback in the gun or we might have two tailbacks or whatever. It all depends on the plays that are called and the down and distance. We’ll see.”

Samuel was asked if he is ever frustrated by the continued movement.

“I understand the need,” said the fifth-year senior. “There are certain areas where we have needs and right now those are tailback and fullback. If it were a completely different position, that might be overkill. But I enjoy both positions I’ll be playing.”

Bobo, for one, is extremely thankful to have Samuel to turn to.

“Richard’s going to do what’s best for the football team,” Bobo said. “I think if he stays healthy, he can be productive for us. He’s a senior and he knows we’re counting on him.”

As always.

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226 comments Add your comment

jarvis jones

July 16th, 2012
11:16 am

Bryan G.

July 16th, 2012
11:24 am

I wish we had 85 Richard Samuels. I mean, I wish we had 85 players on scholarship anyway. But I wish they had this kid’s attitude.

Not ready for Prime Time

July 16th, 2012
11:31 am

Just goes to show that this coaching staff has trouble evaluating talent and putting players in the right positions. What a waste for Samuel.

DIT

July 16th, 2012
11:32 am

The ultimate team player. I hope this guy has a great SR. season. If anyone deserves it, it’s Richard.

Henne Patchinko

July 16th, 2012
11:32 am

He’s a terrific player and person.

piermontdawgny

July 16th, 2012
11:35 am

great attitude…sounds like crowell…oops, just kidding.

Bo Jax, Marcus Dupree>Walker

July 16th, 2012
11:35 am

future recruits should look at the way Mr. Samuels was jerked around at UGA. 5 star kid, 1 star program.

LoveUGA

July 16th, 2012
11:38 am

Hopefully the incoming freshmen will hang around him now that Crowell is gone

Douglas

July 16th, 2012
11:42 am

Why I appreciate his dedication, Samuel is not a true TB. I think he will do well at FB but I think his best position would have been at LB. When you go back and watch his highlights from high school, he really stuck to guys at LB.

Fridawg

July 16th, 2012
11:42 am

He’s a DGD for sure! If this team has some decent leadership, we could have a special season. The Stafford era Dawgs seemed to be lacking good leaders and flopped.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Cuz

July 16th, 2012
11:46 am

The kid is Georgia all the way. I hope he can be an inspiration to the incoming class.

Badland Dawg

July 16th, 2012
11:47 am

UGA never knows how to evaluat players ..the old ball coach knows more about UGA players then CMR does..thats a given…UGA always have players out of position…we can not even get them onto the field at same time..or the same game…………..

Beast from the East

July 16th, 2012
11:49 am

Dawgs are lucky to have this kid. He answers the call to the best of his ability whenever the need arises. This Gator hopes he has a heckuva year…he deserves it!

Dawg Haus

July 16th, 2012
11:54 am

If only they could all be like Richard Samuel. DGD!

Dawg Haus

July 16th, 2012
11:56 am

Chip, assuming Samuel plays mostly TB this season, how is the FB position looking? Do you think Zander will get the starting nod? Will Quayvon Hicks get significant playing time, provided he picks up on blocking schemes quickly?

Rick James

July 16th, 2012
11:58 am

Bo Jax, Marcus Dupree>Walker

future recruits should look at the way Mr. Samuels was jerked around at UGA. 5 star kid, 1 star program
———————————————————————————————————————
If he felt jerked around he would not have stayed in the program..

RxDawg

July 16th, 2012
12:03 pm

Richard Samuel has been an outstanding Dawg and has done everything the coaches asked of him. Richard if your out there, I’m pulling for you to have a great senior season.

GTBob

July 16th, 2012
12:05 pm

Samuel is a good hearted player. Its just too bad that he probably won’t have an NFL career because UGA had to keep putting him at a position he wasn’t suited for due to Richt’s recruiting choices and discipline issues.

bubba4dawgs

July 16th, 2012
12:07 pm

You gotta like Samuel! Why can’t all the Dawgs be so versatile? He brings the right attitude for winning and I believe he will make an outstanding contribution this year! Stay healthy, Richard!! GO DAWGS!!

Taco Meat

July 16th, 2012
12:08 pm

What a great leader Samuel has been the past 2 years. I, too, hope he has a heck of a senior season and gets a chance to play somewhere in the NFL.

Not ready for Prime Time

July 16th, 2012
12:13 pm

Rick James….. Maybe Samuel has contemplated about leaving the program. Maybe not. Clearly he hasnt been used to demonstrate his best abillities under Boo Boo.

gomdawg

July 16th, 2012
12:13 pm

Samuel, is what I call a full blooded Dawg . Thanks

gomdawg

July 16th, 2012
12:14 pm

47 days till first game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dawgman

July 16th, 2012
12:15 pm

GTBob- the 1 idiot every village has… Selah….

Q

July 16th, 2012
12:20 pm

When they yanked the starting job over his fumbles for King and Ealey, that pretty much showed Richt has his favorites. The FAIL is that Richt always picks the wrong guy to be his favorite.

Nauti Dawg

July 16th, 2012
12:24 pm

Love this kid!!! Dang good DAWG!!

Preacher Dawg

July 16th, 2012
12:28 pm

I spoke to RS Sat at countdown, Great attitude, but he is not the only one. There were several that were not getting playing time at all that had equally great attitudes. This team is a bunch of winners and I am proud to be associated as both alum & Fan. 1 question for all you haters….How many of you were not excited to get IC, Ealy, King,or any of the other guys that put the UGA hat on on signing day, and now you are actually silly enough to put into print that some of our coaches should have known better…WOW!

fairburn1

July 16th, 2012
12:32 pm

Richard Samuel is the next Hines Ward!

cdpridg

July 16th, 2012
12:38 pm

samuels without doubt is a DGD!!!!

DawginLex

July 16th, 2012
12:41 pm

Richard Samuel is a DGD

A leader and a mentor to the young pups.

This is the kind of kid we should be recruiting.

Half Century Dawg

July 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

GTBob

July 16th, 2012
12:05 pm
Samuel is a good hearted player. Its just too bad that he probably won’t have an NFL career because UGA had to keep putting him at a position he wasn’t suited for due to Richt’s recruiting choices and discipline issues.

GTBob, I respectfully disagree with you. Richard has the heart and work ethic to be successful at anything he decides to do. There are plenty of Coaches in the NFL that would give a team player of his calibar a chance.

tenn.DAWG

July 16th, 2012
12:44 pm

Good Luck Richard, GATA !!!

SimpleDawg

July 16th, 2012
12:53 pm

Damn Good Dawg !

ole dawg

July 16th, 2012
12:55 pm

Good for you Mr. Samuels!!! Not sure what your major is but you appear to have what it takes to make someone a great management employee if the NFL doesn’t work out. All of you kids attending other schools remember… DAWGS run this state.

Mike

July 16th, 2012
12:55 pm

Just shows how thin Ga is at RB. This guy sucks at RB. He looks like he runs with his eyes closed. He trips over blades of grass.

Joey

July 16th, 2012
12:57 pm

I hope some smart GM in the NFL takes notice of Richard. 6′2″, 245, dedicated players with sub 4.5 speed in the 40 are hard to ignore.

I remember that Samuel was only 16 yrs old when he enrolled early at UGA, but in his first spring, he was the fastest RB on the team – and that included Knowshon, Caleb, and Thomas Brown (the runner, not the blog poster)

Eisendawg

July 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Richard Samuel is a class act, and the ultimate team player. But, I don’t buy into the crap of being jerked around. He chose RB over LB initially and would have probably remained one of the starters, except for fumbles and lack of cutting ability. He is extremely fast, but I always questioned his ability to be an SEC RB, cause it always seemed to be so easy to trip him up, in addition to him struggling to hold on to the ball. So it made sense to move him to LB, where alot of prople felt like was his better position all along. But, for whatever reasons, he was unable to crack the starting line-up, ultimately redshirting. Then when UGA found itself with no experienced RB’s, thanks to Ealey and Kings departure, Richard was asked if he would consider RB again. I mean you gotta love the fact that he wants to help the team, and also wants to play at whatever position gets him on the field. Then, he finally puts it all together with a monster game against Florida, but severely injures his ankle at the end of the game. Dang, his luck has been second only to Uga. Nothing would make me happier than to see Richard have an awesome year, but I don’t see how you fault UGA with the way all of it has gone, up to this point. I wish the absolute BEST for Richard, and GO DAWGS!

Joey

July 16th, 2012
12:58 pm

Sure, Mike. Not every athlete has your coordination.

Say, you want to do a tackling drill with him?

italian_29

July 16th, 2012
1:00 pm

I echo some of the statements of my fellow Dawg Fans, I think Richard Samuel is a GREAT role model for the underclassmen and a DGD. He is the true definition of a TEAM player. I wish that some of our other talent, that has passed through this program, was as good, moraly, as Richard Samuel is.

GTBob

July 16th, 2012
1:00 pm

I hope some smart GM in the NFL takes notice of Richard. 6′2″, 245, dedicated players with sub 4.5 speed in the 40 are hard to ignore.

The NFL isn’t going to take a guy who played a different position every year in college. It doesn’t really matter how fast he is.

alpharetta alice

July 16th, 2012
1:02 pm

what do yall think about the back tatoo murray just acquired?

@alfie alice

July 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

Never seen a tatoo that I liked. Of course, I’m an old fogie. I don’t care for ear rings on a man, or “pants on the ground” either. lol

Joey

July 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

“A leader and a mentor to the young pups.”
*****************************
Very true, Lex, and what’s funny, Samuel is STILL only 21.yrs old. I see him trying to catch on in the NFL for a year or two, then coming back to UGA to get into coaching. Hope so.

7576DAWG

July 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

I don’t think Samuels has been jerked around and I think he would agree. He is a power runner so he is slow hitting the holes until he can get a head of steam going , then he has good speed so his ideal running back position would be Fullback which is where he will probably get his chance in the Pro’s. He likes contact which is 70% of what Fullback’s do, block for the tailback. He didn’t play enough Linebacker to see if he is fast enough but if he was better than average in practice at the Linebacker position you can bet Grantham would be fighting for him . He has certainly been a DGD and will be a great candidate to come back one day and coach at Georgia.
I think he has done enough to get a chance at the Pro’s and in the long run that is all he can ask for.

B

July 16th, 2012
1:11 pm

Give that DAWG a bone!

Joey

July 16th, 2012
1:12 pm

GTBob = NFL Scout Extraordiniare. You should send him a note to forget all about the NFL, genius, you know, since you said so.

Idiot . . .

tidog

July 16th, 2012
1:13 pm

Versatility is good but I’m not a fan of the offense to defense and vice versa. If you recruit the positions adequately you’d have an adequate number of players to evaluate and fill the positions. Malcom Mitchell may very well be capable of moving over to the defensive side this year but there should be enough guys competing in the secondary to avoid moving him.

GTRobert

July 16th, 2012
1:15 pm

Well since you’re such an expert on the NFL draft GTBoob, why don’t you tell your turkey neck coach that NFL scouts don’t even bother looking at Tech players because of that stupid offense Tech runs! Your stupid!!

Not ready for Prime Time

July 16th, 2012
1:20 pm

Lets face the real truth….. Samuel has been a bust so far or he wouldnt be switching around posistions all of the time.