The 2013 wide receiver class in the state of Texas is top-heavy with tall wide receivers, but there's a slight wideout at state powerhouse Dallas Skyline who simply knows how to get open -- Ra'Shaad Samples, son of the head coach there, and possessor of 33 offers.
On Thursday afternoon, Samples broke the news of his announcement date on his Twitter feed:
It's official I will announce my commitment on ESPN July 5-8 at The Opening!— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) May 17, 2012
The 6'0, 170-pounder earned the invitation to the event despite breaking the fibula in his left leg late in the day at the Fort Worth NFTC, ending a strong performance. Having already dealt with a similar but more serious injury as a sophomore, Samples is on track to recover in time for the Nike-sponsored event and has been outspoken in interviews with the services about his confidence in returning at better than full strength. After all, he emerged from his previous rehab faster and stronger than before his injury.
Resilient kid, Samples.
The significant day in the talented wideout's recruitment didn't stop just with the announcement of, well, his announcement date, but also teased another pending revelation:
Probably will put my top 5 later on tonight— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) May 17, 2012
Well top 6...— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) May 17, 2012
Good to his word, Samples dropped his list hours later:
Okay my top 6 in "NO ORDER" is Texas Texas A&M Texas Tech USC Ohio st and Oklahoma St— Rashaad Samples (@10justscored) May 18, 2012
Of those schools, USC and Ohio State would likely need to receive summer visits from Samples to stand a legitimate shot in his recruitment, though the crafty receiver has not yet scheduled those trips. Nearly a month ago, he spoke about his plans at that time ($) to the Aggie Rivals affiliate, Aggie Yell:
I will try to make some visits this summer. I'm not in any rush to make a decision. I will probably get to some in-state places for second visits and try to go to a couple of out of state ones too like Notre Dame and USC. I may see Texas Tech and A&M again. When I went down to A&M, it was a junior day and it was quick. I want to spend a day on the campus. I want to see them practice but I probably will miss out on that. I'll attend some games next year. I will probably see Texas. I really want to see Tech play and Oklahoma State play. I try to go to a lot of games every year.
The big change clearly is that Samples won't be taking any official visits before making his decisions -- or see any games this fall at all, for that matter -- but the schools that get those visits during the summer could secure on advantage in a recruitment that seems quite wide open at this point, though Samples recently changed the avatar on his Twitter page to a split screen shot including a picture taken at the Texas Junior Day that occupied the same position for much of February.
But how interested is Texas in Samples? Multiple sources have told me that Samples hasn't had a committable offer since the commitment of Cy Falls wide receiver Jacorey Warrick back in late February. What's certainly clear is that the staff has backed off serious pursuit.
In any case, a lack of interest from the staff may ultimately result in the same outcome as informing Samples that there was no more room for him in the Texas class and also represents a more subtle handling of the situation so as not to risk damaging relations with a pipeline school like Skyline that produces serious talent every year.
So which of the other five have the strongest shot at landing Samples?
The in-state schools with the lead are probably Texas Tech and A&M, especially since there was some buzz from Aggie camps that a commitment could be imminent from Samples around the time of the spring game. Still dealing with his injury, Samples didn't take any trips during that time, which killed that speculation.
It's possible that USC or Ohio State could surge into serious contention based on summer visits, but until those trips happen, if they do indeed go down, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State probably have the highest odds of landing Samples because of proximity and familiarity.