Oct 12, 2015 02:57PM
● By Dia
Sometimes, Southlake Carroll cornerback Obi Eboh has some of those days where he can feel a little overwhelmed. After all, Eboh is a top student in the classroom, a captain on the football team and one of the state’s best recruits.
After a summer mission trip to New Orleans gave him a new perspective, Eboh feels fortunate to have the simple problems that come with an overloaded schedule.
“We went to a house with no plumbing or electricity,” Eboh says. “We set
up a kitchen, built a staircase ladder to the attic and tiled everything. We did
a lot with that house. There are still parts
of New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina, so it was crazy to see all of that.”
Eboh and the rest of the mission team from White’s Chapel United Methodist Church worked on the house Monday through Friday and even found an electrician to help get everything back in working order. But even during his time in New Orleans, Eboh made time for football.
The group stayed on the campus of Tulane University. Eboh and some of his teammates would wake up at 5 a.m. and utilize the training facilities to go though Southlake Carroll’s normal conditioning program.
“It was crazy,” Eboh says. “We would go out on their turf field every morning to get our workouts in. After that, we would take a shower and have breakfast. We would load the buses at 8 a.m., go to the worksite and work on the house for about six hours.
“The mission trip really opened my eyes. It was one of my favorite trips of the summer. There are more important things out there than football.”
As mentioned, his stay in New Orleans was just one of Eboh’s favorite trips. The other was his journey to Beaverton, Oregon, for Nike’s prestigious event for elite recruits — The Opening.
Held annually at Nike World Headquarters, The Opening features the top 162 high school football players in the nation as selected by Student Sports after film evaluation and in-person evaluation at one of the regional events.
Eboh earned his spot in the finals after a strong showing at the Dallas regional in the spring. While he wasn’t one of the most highly touted prospects in the event, Eboh quickly proved he belonged after being named a top performer on Day 1 of the event. Eboh had an opportunity to match up against some of the country’s top wide receivers, including USC commit Tyler Vaughns and Miami pledge Sam Bruce, and work with NFL players like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
“It was a great experience for me,” Eboh says. “Getting to go up against some of those top wide receivers really helped a lot with my confidence. I had a pretty good showing, so I think it will help with how I lead this team.”
Considered a three-star prospect — recruits can receive up to five stars — by most recruiting services, Eboh recently committed to the University of Texas but did also receive offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and a number of other Power Five programs.
Justin Owens of Coach O Recruiting, who helps Eboh with his recruitment, believes the stud cornerback is exactly what most colleges around the country are looking for.
“He’s about six-foot-two, so he’s a taller cornerback with great length,” Owens says. “He has that rare combination of size and speed that coaches really love. He’s also a very good student in the classroom and just a high-character kid.”
During one of the team’s picture days, Eboh joked with teammate Robert Barnes that his recruiting crystal ball won’t show anything but a cloud at this time. With close to 30 scholarships overall, Eboh took his time with the recruiting process.
With the decision to become a Longhorn Eboh not only found a top football program but prestigious academics. Eboh hopes to major in business finance and work on Wall Street in the case that his football future doesn’t work out as planned.
With his college plans already set, the all encompassing recruitment process is now the furthest thing from Eboh’s mind— helping Southlake Carroll win a state championship, is where he wants to focus.
Last season’s state quarterfinal loss to eventual 6A Division II state champion Cedar Hill still stings. And Eboh is doing everything he can to ensure the Dragons don’t fall short of their goal.
“He’s just such a hard worker and means so much to this team,” says head coach Hal Wasson. “He’s the leader of our team. Guys look up to him because he’s a great young man. He has a lot of experience, and he understands that a lot is expected of him. It motivates him to work even harder.”
Southlake Carroll will be extremely young on defense. In fact, the Dragons lost 10 starters from last year’s team that gave up only 18.4 points/game. So it’s not only imperative for him to live up to his billing but also help this young unit grow up in a hurry.
Eboh is doing just that. Over the offseason, he took underclassmen like the aforementioned Barnes, who is a top safety recruit in the 2017 class, under his wing.
“Obi has made an impact on my growth as a Dragon football player,” Barnes says. “I’ve been watching him since he was getting some time with the varsity as a freshman. He’s shown me the Dragon way. He just tells me to listen to the coaches and work hard.”
As a junior, Eboh recorded 56 tackles and 11 pass breakups. He hopes his summer experiences have helped mold him into not only a better player but also a better leader that can help this team exceed expectations.
“We’re pretty young this year,” Eboh says. “I’m the only returning starter, so I know I have to step up and help some of our younger guys get through the tough games. Typically, I lead by example. But I’m also trying to be more of a vocal leader.
“I feel a good kind of pressure [being the team leader]. I have a lot that I have to prove and a lot that I have to do to help this team get in the best position to win.”