AUBURN, Alabama – Highly recruited Miami wide receiver Devin Aromashodu earned a starting position as a true freshman in 2002 and received 43 yards in his first game at Auburn.
The Tigers, however, lost 24-17 in Los Angeles to the University of Southern California, and after returning home Saturday night, they ran a lot in practice Sunday.
“Is this something I want to do? Aromashodu remembers asking himself the question that day. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to work to get to the level I needed. Going through that helped me dig deeper and find I could do it. Throughout my career, one of the main things I learned that he was able to deal with adversity.”
Two decades after arriving in the Plains, Aromashodu has returned, sharing his Auburn story with the Tigers football team in July on Real Life Wednesday, a mentorship program in which current players connect and learn from former players. Auburn players.
Aromashodu persevered, finishing his first season with 18 catches and averaging 16.9 yards per reception. When he caught just three passes as a sophomore in 2003, he lost his starting role and his confidence.
“I knew I had to come back and work,” he told the Tigers. “You have to believe in what you can do. Being able to regain my confidence for my first year was what helped me get back to my starting position.”
Aromashodu rebounded in 2004, averaging 21.4 yards per catch on 24 receptions, helping the Tigers go 13-0 and win the SEC Championship.
“Going through it prepared me for what I was going to face when I went to the next level,” he said. “Adversity is just another opportunity for you to grow, to get stronger and to believe in yourself because you have to have confidence in yourself. One of the ways to do that is to practice your craft. “
Drafted in the seventh round in 2006 by the Miami Dolphins, Aromahodu was cut but landed on the Colts’ practice squad, learning from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne while catching passes from Peyton Manning in a season of the Super Bowl.
“You have to see it in yourself and put in the work to get where you want to be,” he said. “Learning from these guys helped me develop my skills.”
Aromashodu played seven seasons in the NFL before moving to Birmingham, where he raised his family and worked in mortgage banking.
Following his interview with the team, Auburn players asked Aromashodu questions for 20 minutes, a Tiger wanting to know the characteristics of the 2004 championship team.
“We were selfless and we played together,” said Aromashodu, a member of a receiving corps who was proud to block for carnel williams and Ronnie Brown. “We blocked like our lives depended on it. When they scored, we felt like we scored.”
Another Tiger asked Aromashodu about his career transition from football. When his playing career ended in 2012, he returned to Auburn in 2014 and earned his business administration degree in 2015. Another Auburn graduate helped him get into mortgage banking.
“During your stay here, you will meet a lot of people,” Aromashodu said. “Make sure you stay in touch with these people because they’re family, whether they’re student-athletes or not. Make sure you take advantage of that. Build those relationships and stay in touch with people.”
Other former Tiger stars to speak on Real Life Wednesday this summer include Brown, Bret Eddins, Justin Garrett and Karlos Dansby.
“We appreciate all of the former Auburn players who came back for our guys,” the Auburn head coach said. Bryan Harsin said. “When the message comes from someone who sat in his place not too long ago, it resonates deeply. Real-Life Wednesdays are part of our commitment to developing our players and setting them up for success. in all areas of their lives.”
“It was great to be able to come back to my alma mater and talk with them about the things I dealt with, some of the struggles and successes I had and how I learned,” said Aromashodu after his session. “Experience is our greatest teacher. Definitely a great opportunity and I’m grateful to be able to do it.”
Aromashodu ended his speech by sharing what his Auburn post coach had told him 20 years earlier, advice that has guided Devin ever since.
“Just do the right thing and you’ll be fine,” he said. “Do what you are supposed to do and do your best. If you do this, you will have no regrets.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer