CLARKSVILLE, Ohio — Prince Sammons is still learning and it’s why many wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a year or two before he sees the field at Auburn.
The powerful offensive tackle has only been playing football for three years and is still learning the game and developing his body. The 6-foot-8 prospect weighs 292 pounds and it “still looks like he’s not carrying anything,” Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy coach Eric Taylor said.
The Nigerian immigrant, adopted in 2013 by the Sammons family, was rated a four-star prospect out of high school and is expected to arrive on campus in June. He was expected to enroll May 30, but a late graduation date from high school has changed those plans.
It’s not unusual for offensive tackles to sit on the bench of a year or two before playing on the college level, though Braden Smith managed to earn a start in the Tigers’ 2014 season finale as a freshman at right tackle. Coaches, however, want Sammons to play the most important position along the offensive line: the quarterback’s blind side at left tackle.
“To me, it all depends on the coaches,” Sammons said. “How my work ethic goes. Would I love to start? Yes. Do I want to sit? I don’t know.”
Sammons started playing football during his sophomore season. He played offensive tackle and defensive end and projects as a tackle on the college level. The 19-year-old could add a few more pounds, too.
“He’ll hold 310 pounds like it’s absolutely nothing,” Taylor said.
What Sammons will bring to the locker room is an unmatched maturity for a first-year player. His mother died the day he found out he could travel to the United States of America to chase a basketball dream in 2011. A few months later, his father died while he was in Wisconsin. He went from sleeping on doorsteps and couches to lying on a bed for the first time in his life at the age of 15.
“He’ll bring a great perspective to our room in facing adversity because he’s been through a lot in his life,” Auburn offensive line coach Herb Hand said. “On top of that, he’s a great player and a great student.”
Sammons has a 4.3 GPA this semester, according to his family.
“English is what he speaks,” said Taylor, “but football is a foreign language.”
A year learning Auburn’s system and packing on weight (he’s also not as strong lifting weights because of his long wing span) will be instrumental.
“Ideally, a redshirt would be great for his growth and development and allow him to focus on scheme and fundamentals and not pressing too much to try to have to go out and compete on Saturdays out of the gate,” Taylor said.
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