Today, Mentor (Ohio) offensive lineman Nick Samac is committed to Michigan State, and he is considered one of the key pieces of the Spartans' recruiting class.
Last year at this time, and certainly the year before that, this result would not have been expected. Despite playing football since he was 7 years old, Samac was not always built like a college prospect.
But, nature combined with hard work changed his course.
“My sophomore year, I wasn’t as developed physically,” he said. “I want to say I was about 6-foot-2 and 235, maybe 240 pounds. All offseason, I worked to get stronger and faster. That was a key point for me to get a lot bigger and stronger.”
Even with all of that work, there was no guarantee Samac was even going to be a starter at Mentor, one of Ohio’s top programs, let alone become a Big Ten recruit.
“Going into June, I didn’t even know if I would start on varsity at that point,” he said. “We did our first camp in June and I think I performed very well, worked my way up going into July and then held onto the spot. In August, during two-a-days, I secured the spot. So yeah, I didn’t know I was going to start, but I ended up performing better.”
During his sophomore year, Samac watched as friends and teammates Ryan Jacoby and Noah Potter drew scholarship offers from major programs. He said he was very proud of them, but at the same time, motivated to turn himself into a recruitable prospect.
When he began hearing from more schools as a junior, he was amazed at what had transpired quickly. Now standing over 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, colleges began to take notice. Michigan State was his first Power 5 offer, but Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Duke, Indiana, Boston College and more would follow. A visit to East Lansing would seal the deal that his future would be in green and white.
“I think the relationship I had with the coaches was huge,” Samac said. “Going into any school, you want to make sure that not only will you have a good relationship on the field, but off the field and even for your whole life after college. I felt that with their coaching staff. It grew from the first visit. And my initial reaction to campus itself was it was beautiful.”
Samac’s journey from underdog to top recruit and the chip he had on his shoulder was something he also felt fit in with the mentality at Michigan State.
With his recruiting goal accomplished, he now focuses on winning a state title at Mentor, alongside Potter and Jacoby, who he will someday compete against in the Big Ten. Both are committed to Ohio State.
“That’s definitely the rivalry at practice,” Samac said. “I am trying to compete with them every single day.”
Samac knows what he had to do to get to this point, and the motivation to get there stays with him to this day. That continued feeling of never being satisfied is something that pushes him still, and will make him a great fit at Michigan State.
“I just know I have to keep working hard and staying humble,” he said. “I definitely know I worked hard to get where I am, and I’m going to keep working because this is just the start of everything and I want to work to reach my highest potential. So I’m going to keep my head down and keep working.”
The 2019 Michigan State recruiting class now stands at 10 members with Samac as one of three offensive linemen.
MSU hosts top in-state targets again
West Bloomfield wide receiver Tre Mosley and Belleville offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs were both on campus again this week.
Dobbs, widely considered one of the top rising senior recruits in the state, visited on Monday, and Mosley visited on Tuesday.
Mosley takes his official visit to Missouri this weekend, and Dobbs has official visits set to Auburn and USC. However, analysts favor the Spartans for both Mosley and Dobbs on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.