DAVIE, Fla. – Asante Samuel Jr. wants you to know that his success on the football field has been earned, not given.
Yes, his father was a four-time Pro Bowl cornerback who won two Super Bowls and twice led the NFL in interceptions during a glorious 11-year pro career.
But Samuel Jr., a 5-9½, 165-pound Class of 2018 cornerback, bristles when a question about his father’s exploits is sent his way like a wide receiver infiltrating his zone.
“That’s him, not me. That really doesn’t have nothing to do with me,” said Samuel Jr., who won a state title last season at St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). “I have to do my own thing, do my own stuff.”
Samuel, who lists Ohio State, Florida State and LSU as his top three college football suitors, was among the players taking part in The Nike Opening regional stop in Miami on Sunday.
Fortunately for Samuel, the Aquinas dynasty that has produced seven state titles in the past decade has had its share of football players who are the sons of former pro athletes.
The sons of ex-NFL players Michael Irvin, Cornelius Bennett and John Bosa have starred at Aquinas in recent years. The son of NBA forward Udonis Haslem just wrapped up his Aquinas career. And Samuel will be joined in the 2017 Aquinas secondary by the son of the late Al Blades, Alphonso Blades, who was one of nine players invited to The Opening Final in Oregon in July.
Samuel said he has talked to Blades and some of the others on the list above about how to deal with having a famous father.
“We go through the same stuff, and we help each other,” Samuel said. “We want to make sure we are better than them (their fathers) so that (fans) can forget about them … well, not forget, but you know what I mean.”
Samuel, a four-star recruit who also has offers from Miami, Alabama and Michigan, said the issue of his father’s success – while seemingly an irritant to him – has become a tool.
“It drives me,” Samuel said. “(Critics) always say, ‘Your dad this and that, you got your offers because of your dad.’
“I’ve been hearing it for so long that I’ve gotten used to it. I laugh about it. But it motivates me. I have to show them why I’m the best in the country.”