REED CITY —  When he graduated from Reed City, Chad Samuels had been on consecutive 9-0 regular-season football teams and was ready to try a new venture.

This season, Samuels hopes it work to fruition when he enters his redshirt freshman campaign at Northwood University as a defensive safety.

Samuels was a Pioneer Dream Team quarterback and played in the defensive backfield at Reed City. He redshirted his first season at Northwood but had a chance to practice with the team.

Preseason camp will be starting soon with Samuels looking to make the travel squad and special teams.

“If you make the travel team, then the freshmen will be playing on special teams,” Samuels said. “That’s my goal this year, to play on special teams, travel, and hopefully play on defense and get a couple of minutes on defense this year.”

To get the playing time he wants, Samuels indicated he’ll have to work on gaining weight and getting stronger and faster.

Northwood runs a 4-2 defense,

“We pretty much use five DBs with a prevent defense,” Samuels said. “It’s easier for the DB to know what’s going on.”

The role of a defensive back is different now than it was in high school, he acknowledged.

“I know, since I played quarterback so much in high school that I can read the quarterback’s eyes easily and I can almost guess what decision he’s going to make because that’s the decision I would make it ,” Samuels said. “It helps me out a lot.

“I played a little bit of defense in high school too. I have some experience, so that helps too.”

Samuels and his teammates will prepare for the season with heavy hearts. Head coach Pat Riepma lost his battle with cancer earlier this month.

“That was a big loss,” Samuels said. “It’s really sad.”

Former Ferris coach Jeff Pierce has been the defensive backs coach. Samuels and his teammates are waiting to hear who will be named interim head coach.

Samuels is optimistic the Northmen can have a strong season.

“I think we’re on the rise,” he said. “(Two years ago) they were 2-9 and last year we were 5-6. They keep bringing great athletes and great football players. Our coaching staff is wonderful.”