DL Isaac Samuel Has Overcome Incredible Odds to Play College Football

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Isaac Samuel has lived a tough life, but that still has not kept him from achieving his goals. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound senior defensive lineman out of Centreville High School (VA) dominated the nose guard position last season, and that is partly how he helped lead the Wildcats to a Virginia 6A state title. Being from the state originally myself, a story like this was quite nice for me to hear about.

Samuel lives in a single room with two sets of bunk beds at the Katherine K. Hanley Family Shelter with his mother and two younger brothers, but he probably seems more at home in the weight room.

He has been homeless four times throughout high school, and it is amazing that he is currently in his position today. He is being honored by USA TODAY High School Sports and the Army National Guard with the Inspiration Award, which is presented to 15 student-athletes across the nation who go above and beyond in their communities. It is quite an honor, and his high school should be extremely proud of him.

“The way he carries himself with the burden he has is remarkable,” his high school coach Chris Haddock said to USA TODAY. “I would be lying if I told you that I haven’t shed a tear over him.”

Samuel probably did not think attending college was within reach, but times change. He has been invited to play at both Ferrum College and Shenandoah University, but it does not seem that he has made a decision yet.

Haddock apparently still remembers the first time the defensive nose tackle caught his eye as a 300-pound freshman in the school’s cafeteria. The coach approached the young man about playing football, and Samuel laughed.

Well, nobody is laughing now.

Dave Daniels is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter: @AllDave_AllDay, like him on Facebook here or add him to your network on Google.


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  • Allen Crowder

    I highly recommend Ferrum College. This is a solid, established program, moving in a positive direction. The college has a tradition of winning, and has an outstanding academic offering. Ferrum would be an excellent choice.