Ben Eaton, Gilman, football

Q&A --

September 13, 2006|By LEM SATTERFIELD

A linebacker-fullback with a 3.1 grade point average, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound senior is the lone returning first-team All-Metro selection. Last season, Eaton was part of a team that outscored its last six opponents, 158-7, and ended the season ranked No. 12 nationally by USA Today. He is the son of Dunbar coach Ben Eaton Sr.

Do you feel any pressure as the lone returning All-Metro to the area's top program?

Not really. I feel we have a lot of guys coming back to the team. I just happened to be singled out because I was a linebacker who made some tackles and a fullback who made some plays.

Why did you choose Gilman over playing for your father at Dunbar?

I started playing football when I was 7 -- never played for my father. I've wondered what it would be like. But my father never forced anything on me. I hadn't thought about Gilman until sixth grade, when Coach [Biff] Poggi spoke to my dad about me coming to Gilman. My dad thought Gilman would put me in a great situation education-wise.

What was it like as a sophomore when your momentum-swinging 80-yard touchdown helped lift Gilman over your dad's Dunbar team?

It wasn't going to affect our relationship or anything, but it was awkward because we were playing each other -- which never happened before. We didn't talk about that game because there was tension.

Which schools are recruiting you?

North Carolina and Wake Forest want me as a linebacker. Duke, Temple and UConn want me as a fullback.

Will you take into account the racial elements of Duke's lacrosse controversy when making your decision?

A couple of guys made bad decisions -- you can't let that affect your view of the whole school. [Gilman graduates] Malcolm Ruff and Mike Dowling went there. Malcolm said the way Duke's coaching staff does things is similar to how Gilman does things. Glenn Williams went there from Curley -- and we were in elementary school together. [City graduate] Sheldon Bell's there -- and we played at Northwood rec together. My coach [Poggi] went there -- and he came to me in June and said Duke offered me a scholarship. A Duke degree is something I can fall back on -- that's what my decision will come down to.

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