The ‘Pack's secret weapon

Oct 8, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA;  North Carolina State Wolfpack fullback Jaylen Samuels (1) is tackled by Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Devin Studstill (14) during the first half at Carter Finley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

On NC State’s depth chart, Jaylen Samuels is listed as the Wolfpack’s fullback. However, do not be fooled by that designation.

At 5-foot-11, 223-pounds, Samuels can play fullback. He has rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries this year and scored three touchdowns, but NC State head coach Dave Doeren and new offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz do not use Samuels in the traditional way you might think when you see the word “Fullback.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who’s third-ranked Tigers will host NC State this Saturday in Death Valley, says Samuels is not a fullback or a tight end or a running back or a wide receiver. He is all of those things.

“They use him in so many different ways. I don’t know what he is either other than he is a football player. That’s what he is,” Swinney said.

Samuels is a football player that leads the Wolfpack with 21 receptions and four touchdowns. Combined with his three rushing touchdowns, Samuels leads the team in scoring as well.

“He can play a lot of positions. He can probably go over and play on defense as well too,” Swinney said. “He is just a dynamic guy. He plays running back, tight end, receiver, you name it. They get him the ball in so many different ways.”

Because he can do so many things, Samuels garners a lot of attention, which has opened up things for guys such as running back Matt Dayes (563 yards, 3 TDs) and wide receiver Stephen Louis (13-328, TD, 25.2 per catch).

“It’s not like he is just sitting back there at running back or lining up as a receiver. They are creative in how they use him,” Swinney said. “He is their leading scorer. He is their leading receiver and is a guy that can do a lot of good things with the football when he gets it into his hands.

“We have to know where he is, and he does a great job without the ball, too. He is a good blocker. He is just a really good football player. From a measurable standpoint he is not really a tight end. He is not just a fullback or a tailback or a receiver. He is really a hybrid and a combination of all those things.”

In other words, he is NC State’s secret weapon.


–Photo Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

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