Rogers, Ark.--For Auburn's newest commitment Lee Ziemba the choice was a tough one. Do you choose your childhood favorite or the school that would allow your parents to see you play each and every game. That was the choice laid out in from of Ziemba with Auburn and Arkansas as his final two choices. In the end it came down to prayer and that certain feeling he got when he arrived in Auburn for his official visit.
"I think if I was really true with myself it was when I first stepped foot on the campus for my official visit," Ziemba tells Inside The Auburn Tigers of his decision. "I knew right then that's where I was going to school. It's not just one tangible thing it's a combination of the people, the campus, the atmosphere, the environment. I have been in a lot of prayer about it and I believe the Lord was speaking to me at that time. It's just a whole bunch of things."
Even though he felt Auburn the entire weekend Ziemba says he put off making a final decision until he could first get home and talk things over with his parents. Instrumental in his decision making process, Ziemba says his parents just gave him the facts and let him make his choice and to their credit didn't push either direction despite going to Auburn as students and now living very close to the Arkansas campus.
"I think they knew they had instilled in me the decision making qualities I needed to have to make this decision," Ziemba says. "I think I made the best choice for me. I have them to thank for it. When I went on my official I was a heavy Auburn lean but I had concerns about leaving my friends and family in Arkansas. I never committed in Auburn that weekend. I waited until I got home and discussed it with my parents. I prayed about it and then made my decision the next day.
"They laid it out to me and said if I went to Auburn this would happen and this would happen," he adds. "They helped me review the effects of my decision and what would happen. Then they basically said that both were great choices and I needed to make up my mind. They were just making sure I understood it was going to be a long way from home and they wouldn't be able to make every single game. I understood that and ended up making my decision."
Ziemba is part of an offensive line class that is one of the top groups in the country this season.
The decision came after a long and sometimes grueling battle between Auburn and Arkansas for Ziemba. One of the nation's top offensive tackle prospects, Ziemba had offers from all over the country but he says that Auburn had everything he was looking for in a school and he has offensive line coach Hugh Nall and head coach Tommy Tuberville to thank for showing him everything Auburn had to offer in a way that put him at ease.
"They didn't push me too much they just presented their case and told me they had a place for me in their family," Ziemba says. "They just opened up their arms and said ‘if you want to come then you can come but if you don't we'll shake your hand and say good luck'. I just appreciate them. They answered all my questions. It was just a great process."
The Auburn family is partially to thank for Ziemba's decision to become a Tiger. Becoming very good friends with Auburn commitments Bailey Woods, John Douglas, Chaz Ramsey, Kyle Coulahan, Ryan Pugh, Jared Cooper and others, Ziemba says the fact that he already knew and liked many of the players that would be in his class made the decision to leave home that much easier.
"It really does (help) a little bit," Ziemba says. "I just knew that I went far away from home I would still have friends immediately. That obviously was very comforting. I don't have to start completely over so that's great."
Ziemba says he plans to move to Auburn in early June to begin getting ready for the 2007 season. At 6-7, 305, Ziemba has the size, strength and agility to do what is normally not done and that is play as a true freshman on the offensive line. Whether that does or doesn't happen Ziemba says he's just extremely excited about joining one of the country's top offensive line classes and some talented offensive linemen already on campus.
"They are great guys," Ziemba says. "I have met every single one of them. I also met Andrew McCain and hung out with him on my official visit. They are just great people. We're going to have so much fun the next four or five years. It's going to be great."
With his decision out of the way Ziemba says he can finally relax knowing he had made an educated and well thought out choice. Now all that is left is to sign on the dotted line Feb. 7. He says that he can't wait for things to be official so he can start counting down the days until he arrives on the Plains.
"I'm just so happy I made this decision," Ziemba says. "Auburn is a special place. I'm excited about getting up there early in June and I'm looking forward to it. War Eagle!"