"I got a chance to be in the Tiger Walk," says Ben Obomanu, a speedy senior wide receiver at Selma High School. "It was very exciting. It made me feel like I was almost one of the Auburn players. A lot of the people were telling me, ‘Have a good game, score a touchdown or make a tackle.' I was mixed in with some of the team members. I didn't think it was going to be such a long walk and I didn't know there would be that many people there. When I saw that big crowd making its way to the Tiger Walk, my eyes got big and I was thinking, ‘Wow!' I had a lot of fun doing it.
"I also enjoyed going to the new recruiting area. Auburn is the only school I have ever been to that has a special area like that for recruits right there at the stadium. It makes you feel kind of special. At halftime, we went down there and I think a lot of people in the crowd assumed we were going down to the locker room with the team. I really did have a lot of fun. I had the opportunity to talk to Coach (Tommy) Tuberville before the game. I also got a chance to talk to my recruiting coach, Coach (Joe) Whitt, and Auburn's wide receiver coach, Coach (Greg) Knox.
"Before the game, I got a chance to stand on the sidelines. It was interesting to see how college teams warmup before the games. It was very different from high school when there is hardly anybody there before the game, but I noticed that at Auburn the stands were filled. I also noticed that the Auburn team was so filled with enthusiasm. It was obvious to me that Auburn's players really came to play that day."
Obomanu is one of the top high school seniors in the state this year at 6-2, 187 with sub 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash. He entered his senior season with 66 catches for 1,633 career receiving yards at Selma High with 16 touchdowns. He has also contributed 103 tackles and seven interceptions as a defensive back. He is being recruited by the Tigers as a wide receiver.
Obomanu got a close look at the SEC debut of quarterback Jason Campbell, who was making just his second college appearance last Saturday. "I got a chance to talk to him some," says Obomanu. "I had met him when I came to watch a scrimmage. When you see him play, you forget that he is a redshirt freshman quarterback and these are his first college games because he is so big and has such a strong arm. He sees the field well and puts the ball right on the spot. I believe that Jason is a great quarterback and is going to be a great asset to the school."
Having Campbell calling the shots and throwing the football is a big plus in Auburn's favor in this recruiting battle, Obomanu says. "I think it is a plus to consider a school that already has a quarterback that knows so much--you don't have to wait on a quarterback to get ready when you come in. That is such an important thing in college football. I am looking forward to watching him as the year goes on."
Obomanu has already played two games and will be back in action on Thursday night (Sept. 13th) at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery vs. the Sidney Lanier Poets. Selma is 1-1 and this is the region opener for his team.
After opening the season with a disappointing 22-14 loss to crosstown rival Southside, Obomanu's Saints bombed the Bears of Keith High 38-0 last week.
"I thought we should have won the first game," Obomanu says. "That was very disappointing. Now they have bragging rights for the whole year. I was disappointed that I didn't do so well that game. It wasn't that I missed passes or did anything bad, I just wasn't involved. I just had two touches the whole game. I ran the ball for something like 15 yards.
"For some reason my coach didn't want to throw the ball. We threw just one pass the whole first half. By the time we did get ready to throw the ball, it was the fourth quarter. By then Southside was double-teaming or triple-teaming me every play because they knew we had to pass to catch up. I think the coach caught some flak for that. We came out more prepared for the second game against Keith."
Against Keith, Selma passed earlier and Obomanu contributed two receiving touchdowns, catching five passes for 109 yards. He also rushed for a touchdown and had two carries for 21 yards. He had another run for a touchdown, an 80-yarder on a reverse, called back by an illegal procedure penalty for not having enough players on the line of scrimmage. "I was kind of hurt by that one," Obomanu jokes. "I guess I can still put it on my highlight film." Obomanu returned the first punt of the game 23 yards and after that Keith punted the ball out of bounds to keep it away from the speedy receiver.
Obomanu says that his top three colleges are Alabama, Auburn and Florida and he is also considering LSU and Nebraska. The wideout says he will be on the Auburn's campus for an official on Jan 12th.
Tiger Ticket Extra: Obomanu is friends with Loachapoka wide receiver and defensive back Montae Pitts along with Elmore County defensive end and linebacker Ben Grubbs. The trio plan to take their official visits to Auburn the same weekend in January. Pitts has been a regular at Auburn football practices and was on campus for the Ole Miss game as was Grubbs. Obomanu says, "I talked to Ben and he said he is real interested in Auburn."...Obomanu notes that he will likely take an official visit to Alabama on Dec. 8th, but says that he hasn't finalized that yet. Commenting on why he is considering the scandal-plagued Tide, Obomanu says, "Being from Alabama, I think I need to take a look at the in-state schools. I have always followed both and watched the Iron Bowl. No one really knows what the outcome is going to be with their problems at Alabama. I am going to try to keep an open mind about that."...This past summer, Obomanu attended football camps at Auburn, Alabama, UAB, Ole Miss and Nebraska...He has a perfect grade point average, a 26 on his ACT and is competing to become his class valedictorian.