Obed Ariri

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Obed Ariri (born April 4, 1956) # 1, was a kicker for the Tigers from 1976-1980. Ariri was born in Owerri, Nigeria. He became a skilled soccer player and was scouted by Clemson's then soccer coach Dr. I.M. Ibrahim. After watching him play in Nigeria, Ibrahim offered Obed a soccer scholarship to Clemson on the spot.

A New Sport

Obed was enrolled at Clemson in 1977 when Charlie Pell was in dire need for a kicker. Dr. Ibrahim offered Obed only if he would still continue to play soccer. Pell agreed, and Obed went on to nail every attempt thus securing his place as the kicker for the Tigers. Obed's scholarship was shifted to Football and Pell insisted that Obed forget about soccer.

One of Obed's longest successful career kicks for Clemson came in the clutch fourth quarter against the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville on October 11, 1980 when his 52-yard boot (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVkqMHI80NA) gave the Tigers a 27-24 win. He narrowly missed a 61-yard attempt in a later game that season.

Pro Career

Obed was drafted in the 7th round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts but was cut from the team days before the season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aquired Obed in 1984 only to release him during the 1985 traing camp.

  • 1984 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers


  • Set 6 NCAA kicking records and tied another 3
  • First Buccaneer to kick (3) 40 yard-plus field goals in a game
  • 1977 Made the longest field goal in Clemson history against Wake Forest (57 yards)
  • 1980 Broke his own Clemson record with a 59 yard field goal against Virginia for a 27-24 Clemson victory
  • 1980 NCAA 1st Team All-American
  • 1998 Inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame


  • Obed's middle name Chukwuma means "God Only Knows'
  • Obed never kicked a football until he was at Clemson
  • He was nicknamed the "Automatic African" by his teammates
  • 1979 Obed lobbies and is granted permission to play in the 1979 NCAA Division I National Soccer Championships at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Tigers lose 3-2 to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Obed's performance during the game leads to a job offer with the Chicago Sting of the North American Soccer League. Obed will go on to play as a Buccaneer in Tampa Stadium, five years later.
  • Shortly after his stupendous debut as a distance kicker for the Tiger football team, Obed appeared on stage in the Amphitheatre during a Friday afternoon pep rally in the fall of 1977 and won the hearts of every person in attendence when he took the microphone, and, paraphrasing Garrett Morris of the original Saturday Night Live cast in his role as baseball's "Chico" Esquela, said to the assembled Clemson faithful, "Football - been bedy, bedy good to me!" We howled! We would have elected him King, if it was in our power! After that, Obed could do no wrong.
  • He was so popular in campus during his Senior year that "Obed Ariri for the Heisman Trophy" bumper stickers were made up even though a kicker couldn't win
  • Joined the Bucs during the 1984 pre-season but was waived before final cuts. After kicker Bill Capece flopped in the final Buccaneer pre-season game, Obed was hired in time for the start of the regular season
  • A young Nigerian soccer player had idolized Obed back in Nigeria. Obed encouraged the player to attend Clemson and inspired the player to kick a football. The young player attended Clemson and was looked after by Obed. After graduating Obed even encouraged Coach Danny Ford to give the young man a chance to kick for the football team. The young man made the team and even went on to the NFL. Ironically the same young man beat Obed for the kicking spot thus taking his job on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The young man's name? Donald Igwebuike

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