In the midst of National Signing Day 2017, the news of one commit made the rounds, and it was solely because of his name. Illinois State proudly announced their new offensive lineman: Kobe Buffalomeat.
You can see right away why Twitter went into line-o-rama mode after the Redbirds made the announcement:
Kobe Beef is out. KOBE BUFFALOMEAT is inhttps://t.co/xYi6VwhrQh— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) February 1, 2017
*Kobe Buffalomeat goes to school*— Michael Lananna (@mlananna) February 1, 2017
Kobe: "OK, I'm heading off to class now. Bye mom! Bye dad!
Mr. and Mrs. Buffalomeat: "Bison!"
He’s more than the name, though. In his highlight video, Redbirds recruiting coordinator Lamar Conard lays out why the team was interested in him:
“Big kid. He has some work to do in the weight room, and continue development, but we think he can be a very special player here. You just can’t recruit that kind of size and attitude. He’s more than willing and I think that he will be a tremendous asset to [offensive coordinator Dan Clark’s] offensive line here in the future.”
He looks like a great fit for the team. Still, it’s the name that grabbed people’s attention. How does he feel about all this? In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he revealed he had no idea how famous he’d become (Jordan Peele of Key & Peele gave him a shout-out), as he was still in class, although someone eventually told him about it. He’d also gotten in contact with a producer from Jimmy Kimmel Live, so expect a TV appearance from him very soon.
As for the name, he said he never saw what the big deal was:
Tribune: “Do you like having a name that sets you apart?”
Buffalomeat: "Uh, yeah. I never really thought it was that special until today, I guess. It just blew up. But yeah, a lot of people have always talked about my last name, but it's never been this big yet."
T: “What do you think your parents had in mind, in terms of the ‘Kobe’ part?”
B: "My mom liked Kobe Bryant. He just got in the league when I was born, so she liked it."
He’s pretty aware of how his name can make people (who are unfamiliar with Native American names) do a double take. Ultimately, he seems to be taking all of this newfound fame in stride.
We hope he does well over at Illinois State.