AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File

From Nigeria to the NFL: The Journey of Auburn's Princes

The Auburn Tigers have a history of NCAA college football royalty with some of the best players ever, such as Bo Jackson and Cam Newton, but they currently have real royalty on their team.

Prince Tega Wanogho and Prince Micheal Sammons are both from Nigeria and are offensive lineman at Auburn University. The Princes grew up in parts of Nigeria that are only about six hours apart.

Auburn's Prince Tega Wanogho

When Prince Tega Wanogho Jr. announced he would be returning for his senior season in 2019 instead of entering the NFL Draft, it gave head coach Gus Malzahn and Auburn football another season of having two Princes, but also one of the best offensive tackles in the country.

Wanogho started 32 games during his Auburn career and was named to the Pro Football Focus First-Team All-SEC back in 2018. The left tackle came a long way since arriving on the Auburn campus in 2015 as a defensive line recruit from Edgewood Academy in Elmore, Alabama — a small town outside of Montgomery.

He entered the 2019 season as a representative for Auburn at the SEC Media Days, was named to the 2019 Preseason All-SEC Team, and represented Auburn in the Reese's Senior Bowl.

The Nigerian Prince arrived in Alabama in 2014 from Delta State, Nigeria with no knowledge of football, but joined the team at Edgewood Academy and was dominant in just one year of high school football. Originally, he was a soccer and basketball player. It makes sense that he enjoys basketball since he is 6-foot-7.

But thanks to head coach Bobby Carr asking the basketball player to attend football practice, where he wowed him and finished it off by running a 4.61 40-yard dash without cleats. His plans of a future in basketball changed that day, whether he knew it or not.

His speed and size allowed for him to be a tight end in high school, but his hands weren't good enough and needed to fill out to play tackle at the Division I level. But his knowledge of the game still had a long way to go, including not even knowing who Nick Saban was even though he was being recruited by almost every team in the country.

Auburn's Prince Micheal Sammons

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Ironically, Wanogho's love for basketball and a dream of playing in the NBA is actually how he met another Auburn teammate and Nigerian, Prince Micheal Sammons. They apparently attended the same basketball camp as children in Nigeria.

"Having somebody there I can relate to, someone I knew back home, we can speak our language and when I'm down he can help me," Prince Sammons said

Sammons was also a four-star defensive end from Nigeria that made the flip to play on Auburn's offensive line. Sammons, who is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, has yet to make the impact as a Tiger like Wanogho has, but he is also a huge guy like Wanogho, listed at 6-foot-7 and 300 pounds.

He grew up thinking it would be basketball that would take him where he wanted to go, and that seemed to be realistic when he was being recruited to play high school basketball in Maryland, but the death of his mother derailed that plan in 2011.

Instead, he would eventually come to the United States and live in Cincinnati, Ohio with the Sammons family. As a dominant defensive end in high school, he was always one of the best players on the field in any football game.

And even though he may spend much of this season on the sideline, the redshirt sophomore is a great option as a backup and a replacement as Wanogho moves on to the next level.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.

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