After four years of high school studies and dedicating themselves to football, Marana High School seniors Benjamin “Benny” Caudell and Ephraim Amissah signed National Letters of Intent to play in college during a small ceremony at the school Wednesday morning.
Caudell started on the varsity squad since his junior year, when he played linebacker. He also moved into the tail back position last year for short yardage plays.
According to Marana Football Head Coach Louie Ramirez, Caudell took on a true leadership role during his senior season, even after an injury kept him off the field for most of the year.
“He stuck with us,” Ramirez said. “He was a great coach, helping me out on the field and on the sidelines on Friday nights. He found a role, any way he could help the team and really did a good job.”
According to Caudell he approached Ramirez after he was sidelined, looking for advice.
“After my injury I came to coach and was like, ‘How can I still chase this dream and play college football?’” he said. “I told him that I will do whatever I can to keep playing football.”
Caudell will attend Chandler-Gilbert Community College and play for the newly formed Gila River Hawks Junior College Football program under head coach Ryan Felker, who Ramirez said will help the young man improve “if he stays true to who he is.”
Ramirez said he considers Amissah to be the season’s most valuable player after the latter kicked the winning field goal in the final game of the season against Nogales High School. That 40-plus yard kick earned the Tigers their sole win of the year.
“He’s a great personality, and really understands how to work, how to be a team player,” Ramirez said. “He’s never a ‘me’ guy, never complains about playing time. I had him playing receiver, had him playing safety and ultimately, he turned out to be one of the best kickers we had. I think it just goes to show you the type of kids we have, they bought in to what we’re all about.”
Amissah signed on to play ball at Western New Mexico University, where he will be a preferred walk-on for the Mustangs.
After signing his letter of intent, Amissah thanked his coaches, teammates, family and friends for their support.
“Thank you to everyone for being there for me through my 17 ankle sprains,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience.