Auburn Is Where The Heart Is For Owens

Talented linebacker LaDarius Owens talks about his decision to be an Auburn Tiger.

Bessemer, Ala.--Four-star linebacker LaDarius Owens from Jess Lanier High had been high on the Auburn Tigers since recruiting really started heating up last spring, consistently mentioning them at the top of his list along with schools such as Alabama, LSU and others. While there were other interests, Owens says for him he just felt it was Auburn all along and he finally decided to pull the trigger and become a Tiger.

"I haven't been at peace of mind since my football season started two weeks ago," Owens tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I'm a firm believer in God and I don't know if it was because I was going to other schools and talking to other coaches, but I always knew where was home and where my heart was and where I wanted to be. I felt like I needed to get it off my chest and give myself some relief and get back to having fun playing football."

Much of the reason for his comfort level came because of several visits he made to the Auburn campus beginning last spring and into the summer. Taking the opportunity to get to know the entire coaching staff and build a relationship, Owens says that was huge in his ultimate choice of Auburn.

"It meant a lot to me," Owens says. "Everytime I went down there I never felt nervous. I never felt unwanted. I never felt uncomfortable. That was one thing that was big for me. I feel good that I can go there and talk to any coach about anything. I doesn't even have to be about football. They've been there for me. That's why I know it's the place for me.

"Mainly it was the family atmosphere," Owens adds. "Coming down there I feel like I'm at home. The coaches are great, all the coaches. Even the coaches that don't recruit me talk with me. Everyone knows me and knows my family. It's just a great surrounding. I've also sat and talked with Coach (Ted) Roof about the scheme and where I would fit in. They made me know exactly where I need to be."

Playing some outside linebacker as well as defensive end for Jess Lanier, Owens has started out his senior season with a bang. In two games he's made 25 tackles with five sacks in two games to go along with two pass deflections. It's that kind of versatility that should make the 6-3, 230-pounder a threat for Auburn down the road because of his ability to play linebacker and also with his hand on the ground.

"I will be able to play a lot of places because of my versatility," Owens says. "I have the ability to pass rush as well as my speed allows me to run sideline to sideline and drop back in coverage. I will be in a lot of different positions."

Owens is one of four linebackers already pledged to the Auburn Tigers for the 2010 class joining Jake Holland, Jawara White and Jessel Curry. The group should be one of the top linebacker classes in the country when signing day rolls around in February.

This summer Owens says they got a chance to work together and get to know each other better when they joined forces for an Auburn summer camp. He notes that day gave him a good feeling about the future of the Auburn defense.

"We've built a good relationship over time," Owens says. "I know we'll be able to help each other out when we get down there. We'll make each other better. I keep in touch with the other guys all the time. We've got a lot of good times ahead of us. I think we'll come down there and make a big impact our first year. There will be some bumpy times coming in. I'm sure we'll struggle, but also we'll learn a lot and make some plays. By our second year we should be a force to be reckoned with. It's going to be fun."

While he's bound to keep receiving calls from coaches wanting him to take visits and keep them in mind, Owens says as far as he's concerned he's done with recruiting. He says he's planning on visiting Auburn the next two weekends for games against Mississippi State and West Virginia with the game against the Mountaineers coming on the weekend of his birthday.

"I'm done," Owens says. "When I commit that's my word. That's the only thing I've got."


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