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15 Days to Kickoff! - Ben Obomanu

Or, “Ben Obanew” as Tommy Tuberville used to say.

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As we continue our march to kickoff, we take a look at the top 100 recruits to sign with Auburn of all-time*. The rankings are based on 247’s composite recruit rankings, which unfortunately only date back to 2000.

The Recruit

Y’all, I don’t know how Auburn ended up with two receivers named Obomanu and Aromashadu at the same time, but I can tell you that one of those stories begins in Selma, Alabama with the top-rated pure receiver recruit in Auburn history.

Ben Obomanu (middle name Ebenezer!) wasn’t just the highest-ranked player in the state of Alabama in the class of 2002, but he was one of the smartest. He graduated from Selma High School as the valedictorian and went to Auburn as the fourth-best receiver in the country.

The Player

His freshman year was nothing special, as he caught just 17 passes for 224 yards and 3 scores, but he had the go-ahead touchdown against Eli Manning and Ole Miss. Auburn’s passing game featured Jeris McIntyre more than anyone else that season, and the inconsistency at quarterback certainly didn’t help either.

In 2003, the quarterback situation was settled, but the offense wasn’t great under the Nallsminger offense. Obomanu was perhaps the most productive player in the season opening 23-0 defeat to USC, grabbing 4 passes for 53 yards, but he didn’t make a big impact until the Ole Miss game later that season.

Late in the third quarter against the Rebels, who were in position to win the SEC West for the first time, Obomanu grabbed a tipped ball and raced 68 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Ole Miss took the lead with 2:39 left and Auburn needed to score a touchdown to win, trailing 24-20. Obomanu made another great play, taking a short pass and weaving deep into Rebel territory to get Auburn in position for the win.

On third down and goal moments later, Jason Campbell rolled out and found a wide open Obomanu in the back of the end zone, but Obomanu inexplicably jumped for the perfect pass... and dropped the winning touchdown.

I’m glad that the only video on Youtube is some dude recording his TV, and thus unworthy of posting here. The image is enough. It was one of the toughest Auburn losses I can remember, but Obomanu earned the respect of everyone by coming out and answering every question asked of him in the postgame press conference. Two weeks later, he would make one of the biggest plays of the Iron Bowl.

The next season, he became a huge part of the revamped Auburn offense, snagging 25 passes for 359 yards and 7 touchdowns as the Tigers went undefeated. He had multi-touchdown games against Mississippi State and Louisiana Tech, and scored Auburn’s clinching touchdown in the SEC Championship against Tennessee.

After a productive junior year, Obomanu stuck around for his senior season and added a few tricks to his repertoire, namely in the running game. After catching 33 passes for 357 yards and another 5 scores, he added 8 carries for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns, with one of those coming in a dominating performance in the Iron Bowl.

For his efforts in 2005, he was drafted in the seventh round by Seattle, and had a productive contributing career for the Seahawks from 2006-2012. After leaving the NFL in 2015, Obomanu enrolled in law school at Alabama, further dominating U of A students in their respective fields.