Dressed in a baby blue shirt and a North Carolina tie, Caleb Samuel showed no signs of a last-minute National Signing Day surprise.
The FPD senior made his April 10 commitment official and signed his national letter-of-intent for North Carolina on Wednesday morning.
Samuel had several offers from other major-conference programs, including Boston College, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Mississippi State, Mississippi and Temple, but ultimately North Carolina won out.
“I thought about it for a long, long while. I was battling in my mind,” Samuel said. “But I talked it over with my parents, and I really just get the best of both worlds going to North Carolina. I get a really good education, and I get to play really good football, so it made sense.
Never miss a local story.
“I like the coaches, I like the team, I like the campus. I could see myself there for a good while, so it was an easy choice for me.”
Samuel, surrounded by his parents, sister and senior teammates, signed his letter of intent after remarks from head coach Greg Moore and offensive line coach Ken Garvin.
Moore listed off Samuel’s various rankings and accomplishments, including a selection to the AP All-State team and The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia team, then added, “You’re gonna see this young man play on Sunday one day.”
“Caleb Samuel is a positive influence and has a great impact on his team,” Moore said. “On the field, certainly, but also in the locker room and away from the practice field and the game. It didn’t matter if you were a senior or a freshman, he had something positive to offer you as a teammate.”
Samuel started on both sides of the ball for FPD, playing left tackle and end. He racked up 43 total tackles, including five for loss and four quarterback sacks.
Samuel is projected at left tackle at North Carolina, but he was hesitant to pick what he prefers.
“I like (playing left tackle),” Samuel said. “I like it a lot. I like both sides of the ball, so I’m just gonna do what they tell me, really.”
That will include adding some bulk to his already 6-foot-7, 265-pound frame. It’ll help that he intends to major in exercise and sports science.
“I’m just gonna go up there and work as hard as I can,” Samuels said. “Eat whatever they tell me, gain a couple of pounds. I’m just gonna do what they tell me and see what happens from there.”