Hoosiers land Syracuse DT as grad transfer

Indiana landed its third graduate transfer of the off-season on Sunday.

Former Syracuse defensive tackle Kayton Samuels announced via Instagram that he will spend his final season of eligibility at IU this fall.

The 6-foot, 300-pound Georgia native started 24 games at Syracuse, including seven of the 12 games in which he appeared for the Orange last fall. During his three-year run at Syracuse, Samuels made 44 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss. He posted 12 tackles and one sack as a junior in 2017.

Samuels announced in early December that he intended to leave Syracuse as a grad transfer.

“This past journey has been a stressful one for me,” Samuels wrote on Instagram, “… felt like I lost myself without the game. I’m even more grateful for it now. I’m extremely happy to say I’m back and I’m better!”

A two-star prospect out of high school, Samuels originally chose Syracuse over Georgia State, Arkansas State, Ball State, Buffalo and Florida International, among others.

The Hoosiers graduated senior defensive tackle Nate Hoff after last season and lost redshirt freshman Juan Harris to transfer in early April. Samuels joins former Miami center Nick Linder and former Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins as grad transfers set to join IU for the 2018 season.

Video of Samuels (No. 52) from Syracuse:


  1. Samuels had a lot of starts over the last three seasons at Syracuse. 6′ and 316 pounds with lots of experience and a desire to continue playing. And he is a very good student. Sounds like a good get to me.

    Noticed that six Syracuse players have announced they are transferring. Seems like a high number of transfers. How many IU players announced. two or three? Could it be that the new Syracuse coach has higher standards and is making room for what he believes will be better players?

  2. Don’t know about you but getting excited over mediocre graduate players ‘may’ indicate that the recruiting and development is inadequate. The place I notice it most is on the interior lines, especially the OL. Maybe I’m wrong but I doubt it.

    1. Brad, you are right about the recruiting but that was the Wilson staff that left holes in the two last classes they recruited. Allen’s staff is trying to bring in Grads to fill the holes and win this year instead of standing pat and waiting for another two years for their classes to take over.

      Samuels may not be a top player but going against top teams in the ACC he shows he can change the LOS and get to the ball by not staying blocked. I am intrigued by his film and hope he helps our DL reset the LOS this year.

      1. If there were holes on the OL, which I reject entirely. It was because heavy, heavy emphasis was for the last 2 Wilson years put on recruiting D. And it was resoundingly smart, effective and successful. This commit is a good move on the part of both IU and the player. Added rotational depth for IU and a chance for playing time in the B1G for Samuels. I doubt this would have taken place if Harris had been able to keep his head on straight.

        1. HC,
          I will agree with you that the recruiting for the defense was, “resoundingly smart, effective and successful.” However, V13 correct me if I am wrong, is it also not the head coach’s responsibility to see to it ALL potential areas of personnel need are addressed? Coach Wilson had many successes but he also had many failures. One of the most obvious areas was the holes in the OL for the 2017 season, which showed up last fall for all to see.

          It is patently obvious that when you have a good OL you are going to lose personnel to the NFL. What was being done to sustain the success in future years? That was on Wilson’s watch and the experienced personnel or lack thereof were his responsibility. TA does have some blame in that he became head coach for last year, but it was late in the recruiting cycle and only so much could be done.

          1. That’s more BS than my IU pitchfork can hold. When you have a coach as sound as a Greg Frey you can cheat a little. When his successor is named Hiller then you have to have lots of help. Even with an OL full of injuries Wilson/Frey got us to a Bowl for the 2016 season.
            By the way the 2017 season and last Fall are the same.

          2. HC and others want to ignore the fact that the OL was without any seniors last year and few Juniors. Frey had three seniors for the OL in 2016 and an established RB that gained 1000 yds two seasons in a row; something the 2017 team didn’t have. As far as I am concerned the 2017 class was Wilson’s class as coach Allen really only had time to hang on to the committed recruits before signing day.

            We will always have disagreements with posters as people see things in different ways. I see last year as disappointing but not much different than 2015 or 2016 whiles others think it was a “big” step back. We will see if the additions to the team for this Fall helps bring about a winning season something Wilson etal never did despite having the talent in 2015 to do exactly that.

  3. The “Big Step Back” was not winning our last game in 2017, after winning it in 2016 and 2015! Our QB was not up to the task. In 2018 our QB roster is vastly improved!

  4. …and v and others want to ignore the fact those Seniors in 2016 were hurt almost as much as they played…but Frey coached the underclassmen to overachieve…can anyone say Bowl?…which developed a host(not a few)of experienced 2017 Juniors…which Hiller squandered…no nastiness, no spit and no fire…underachieved…same for the rest of DeBord’s staff who couldn’t identify ‘playmakers’…which reared its head 1st with RB’s…Hart should have been fired after the 2nd game…DeBord and Hiller should be on a short leash this season…blaming Wilson is easy cause he’s gone…but his 2015-16 teams are on record as attaining Bowls because he had effective offensive coaches who knew how to coach 2-3* talent…makes a big difference…and it really showed in ’17’…

    1. HC, you forget that the injuries were during pre B1G games and several were back for those games. You also forget that 2017 IU OL missed starters for most of the year especially for the tough B1G games and playing without Knight who played in 2016 and without Stepaniak. Look at the games not in B1G and the OL played as well as in 2016 too. HC you also forgot that Majette was the most experience going into 2017 with two RBs that hadn’t played in a game [with Gest only one part of a game] and Brookins a walk-on player. You want to use injuries for 2016 but don’t want to see the injuries in 2017 along with the unexperience of the players. You also don’t want to accept that the scoring went up any way with the younger offense team in 2017 over 2016.

      I get it you liked the offense coaches in 2016, so did I, and hate the offense coaches IU has now. If 2018 offense doesn’t get back to scoring over 32 points a game I will agree with you about DeBord. Imagine having the 4 and 5 star players at UM and playing our “terrible” offense and needing OT to beat us. Coach Frey was criticized by the fans because the OL sucked according to UM standards and they thought it was a mistake to bring him to UM. Should I be agreeing with UM fans, no, but on the other hand I don’t agree with your assessment of where IU was in 2017 either. I just don’t get your big difference that showed when 2017 out scored the 2016 unless of course you don’t think it is points that win games.

      We will agree to disagree, I just think you are exaggerating the differences in 2016 offense and 2017 offense. Some aspects were better in 2016 but scoring was better in 2017 so I see it as a wash. 2018 is the season I will judge thre offense under these coaches.

      1. Well there is no doubt now ex-coaches exaggerate. Of course more points were scored. The OL injuries of ’17’ weren’t as negative because the next men up had some experience from the year before. Hiller was fortunate there were so many young players who had game playing quarters from 16. But he couldn’t whip the OL into any kind of mean. By the way the Blue fans who set behind me at the game DeBord gave away remarked positively about stealing Frey away and asked did Allen not like him. I’ve never coached a minute but Hart makes evaluations and decisions like it. MM was 22 for 22. A 1 yd. average. Just think if he’d been healthy Hart would have coached him to 88 for 88. I evaluate management for a living. Hart should have been fired after the 2nd game. No wonder Dino didn’t fight to keep him. I suspect he’ll look acceptable this year because Morgan and Gest will be the bread and butter + the added flash from underclassmen. Yes I’m very disappointed with DeBord, Hiller and Mike Hart. I see players trying to play hard but burdened by coaching mistakes, softness from confusion and planning. I will not be surprised at all if only 1 of them is around for 2019. If game performance advances this year in the responsibilities of these 3 I’m willing to back off. I would bet against it though. I’m neutral/positve on Heard and Sheridan. I think they have produced more positive on field than negative unlike their sidekicks. To support my view on Allen, I really endorse the decision putting Inge in charge of ST’s. Field position in conference games is crucial to W or L.

  5. HC,
    I think you conveniently omit the fact that the West Lafayette folks were quite coaching dysfunctional for several years running. If they had the current coaching staff, does anyone think IU would had nearly the record against PU for those years? I know you bristle at any suggestion of Wilson not being quite the coach some would like him to be viewed. The simple fact of the matter is he benefited greatly from PU not being up to speed coaching wise. We know historically PU has always had the edge over IU and the streak of wins was definitely an aberration from the norm.

    I give neither Wilson nor Frey a pass regarding the state in which they left the OL. The idea is to have the next man up ready and capable at anytime. Football is a game of injuries, just as Alabama with over 50 injuries last year and still win the NC. You expect that at their level, but IU has to compete at their level of expectations which are pretty low. If you are going to build a winning program you have to at least keep up the recruiting momentum.

    1. You’ve conveniently omitted that in the years before Wilson PUke many times had dysfunctional coaching and IU coaching could not earn the W’s as Wilson accomplished. I’ll bet tall $ you cheered. Wilson’s offenses simply out-toughed the PUkes. A far cry from 2017. So much for you expounding your narrative. There were 2 games last year IU absolutely was shortchanged by offensive coaching, Meatchicken and PUke. The play calling against Blue was despicable and the offensive game plan for WL was juvenile. Atrocious FB spectacles produced by offensive coaches who performed as if they’d never wore a whistle. A damn shame, instead of progress it was regress.

  6. Obviously HC is a big fan and defender of Wilson and Frey. He dismisses any criticism of any aspect of their performance at IU as BS. Equally obvious is that HC is not a fan of DeBord, Hiller of any offensive position coach. Time will tell if DeBord and Hiller were the problem last year or if they simply did not enjoy the same level of talent, resulting from the decline in recruiting in the two year’s prior to their arrival at IU. But objective observers have a right to question the performance of Frey and Wilson in sustaining the recruiting they had previously established with Offensive Linemen and other areas on the offense. Recruiting defensive players does not impede the ability of a coaching staff to continue recruiting Offensive linemen, QBs or running backs. It’s not a zero sum game, and a good coaching staff recruits for all their team’s needs all the time. The facts are that under Wilson, the recruiting of several areas of need declined in his last two seasons at IU. Injuries not withstanding, we just did not have the depth necessary to produce winning seasons. The proof of that was the performance level of last year’s O-line, QB and running backs. You have two running backs, two O-linemen and a QB drafted by the NFL in a period of two years, and you lead your team to two consecutive bowl games (and play well in both), and yet you’re not able to replace those quality players with players that have the same or greater potential. That clearly indicates recruiting dropped off during the last two year’s of Wilson’s tenure. Maybe it was all the turnover amongst position coaches; maybe it was Wilson? Frey was/is obviously a very good O-line coach, but maybe he had his eyes on a bigger job during his last two years at IU. Hiller may not be as good a coach as Frey, but only time will tell. And it has been well documented that Wilson made great contributions to IU football and that he left the program better off than where he found it. But Wilson had his faults, and recruiting and/or keeping QBs on the roster was one of them. Ironic that now, as we’re lead by a defensive minded head coach, we have the deepest and most talented stable of quarterbacks IU has had in decades, if not ever!

    If Wilson was really as good a coach as HC would have us believe, he’d be a head coach for another Power-five conference team today. I doubt he will ever be a head coach for another Power-five conference team again. Most Power-five conference Athletic Directors want to hire a proven winner, and Wilson has never lead a program to a winning season. And of course the cloud about his “insensitive” treatment of injured IU players, while probably a mole hill made into a mountain by the hyper-risk-averse Glass, will create lingering doubts about his fitness to lead another major football program in this ever-increasing PC world of college sports.

    Allen’s future as a head coach will be in his ability to surround himself with high quality assistant coaches. Only time will tell whether he has the skill and judgement necessary to build and sustain a first class coaching staff that is essential to recruiting and developing football talent.

    1. Nobody can travel every direction on a compass like Po. At least not with as many words.

  7. I applaud Allen’s opportunism in signing the three grad transfers for next season. Their maturity and experience as starters for Power-five conference teams suggest they will provide great benefit to IU Football in 2018. And relative to HS kids, they represent less risk, cause based on their body of work over three seasons, you have a much better idea of how they will perform. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” and in relative terms, these men are good gets for IU Football. Each will be starters for IU. They represent much needed depth and experience at key positions, and I hope Allen and staff continue to take advantage of graduate transfers, just as they should continue selectively recruiting Junior College players who can come in and make an immediate contribution.

  8. Good point re: known ability v. whatever “stars” w/minimum experience. Plug some gaps for year and let the whatever stars develop. Hard to find fault with that, but this is the Scoop, after all, and we’d be pretty dull if we didn’t opine.

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