There was a time not long ago when three-star wide receiver Ra'Shaad Samples (Dallas/Skyline) was considered a lock to commit to the Longhorns.
So much so that other coaches would call him with the understanding that their window likely had closed on appealing to the 5-foot-11, 170-pound slot receiver.
“I was pretty much set on Texas,” Samples said. “I was going to pull the trigger.”
Then, in what felt to many like the blink of an eye, the two grew apart and Samples since has committed to Oklahoma State, the team the Longhorns will face this weekend.
What exactly happened between Texas and one of the state’s most dynamic playmakers has been foggy to some. But Samples is here to set the record straight.
It all started when Samples attended Texas’ junior day ...
“I went to the Texas junior day. I don’t even think that Oklahoma State had offered. I can’t remember. I was pretty much set on Texas. I took the junior day. I loved everything. I love [wide receivers] Coach [Darrell] Wyatt.”
He came away from that trip to Austin basically sold on becoming a Longhorn. However ...
“They told me they didn’t want me to commit when I was there. They wanted me to go home and talk to my parents about it. That’s what I did. When I went there I was set. I figured I wanted to be at Texas. I liked the coaching staff. I came back and was going to wait until after the weekend, and I was going to commit. I told Coach Wyatt that I was going to commit. I was going to pull the trigger.”
That’s when outsiders started to chime in with their advice ...
“I started talking to different people from the outside, and they just told me that, you know, they offered me, and if they really want you, then look around and they won’t go anywhere. Just give it a couple of weeks. So I took that advice. I didn’t want to at first, because I liked Texas. I am really cool with [Longhorns commit] Jake [Oliver]. He was probably going to be my roommate.”
But Samples decided to take others' advice and figured looking around couldn’t hurt his status with Texas ...
“I just waited it out, and the more I waited, Texas just stopped [recruiting me]. After a week went by, they stopped making much of an effort to recruit me. At first they came to my practice. But they just stopped recruiting me. It wasn’t the same.”
Samples was confused, but wasn’t hurt that Texas had stopped recruiting him ...
“It really didn’t hurt me. I liked Texas at that point. I had people tell me different things. I was set on Texas. At that point I wasn’t even going through the process anymore. I had a couple of schools call me and say, 'I heard you were about to commit. I heard you were a silent commitment.' As time went by I felt like I wasn’t the priority, and you want to go somewhere where you feel wanted. So I wasn’t disappointed. I was just glad that I saw what I saw.”
What he saw was another school that stayed in constant contact with him, and the consistency was starting to rub off on him ...
“Oklahoma State had been with me the entire time and were real patient. I always liked Oklahoma State. As time went by I got past the Texas thing, and Oklahoma State stayed on me. I went down there and went through the same process as Texas, because those two were my top schools. I just let some time go by, and they were on me the same. Coach [Mike] Gundy would call my mom. Coach Gundy would call me and talk to me for a couple of hours. They were like family. After that I wanted to be there too. It was a pretty easy choice for me.”
Samples rests easy at night knowing that he made the right choice for himself. He doesn’t look back at what could have been with Texas and is instead focused on returning to full health after breaking his ankle during a Nike Football Training Camp in Dallas over the summer.
“I am about 100 percent,” he said. “It took me right up until a couple of weeks before the first game to get to this point. I’ve been up to speed but just to get everything I had back, and to pick up on the little parts of my game, that is what I am still trying to do right now.”
It certainly appears like he’s at 100 percent, as he has a team-high 15 catches for 245 yards and six touchdowns through three games.
Before he likely heads up to Stillwater to watch the Cowboys host the Longhorns, he’ll take on Oliver -- his would-be roommate at Texas -- on Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Dallas Jesuit.
And for those wondering if he’d answer Texas’ call if it came calling now, Samples said, “I don’t know if I would talk to them. Maybe if they got in contact. I don’t know. But they haven’t.”