It’s pronounced Tie-oh Akeen-bo-bo-yay.
If you’re not familiar with Tayo Akinboboye’s name, or how to spell it, you’re at least familiar with his work at linebacker for the four-time defending Section 9 Class B champion Marlboro High School football team.
Through six games this season, the Iron Dukes look as dominant as ever, having outscored their opponents 329-52. A key to that success has been a relentless, play-making defense, and at the center of that is Akinboboye, a senior leader and the defensive signal-caller.
He also is an excellent student, proving he can hit the books as well as he does opponents. He tackled various subjects in a Q&A session with the Journal.
How often do people mispronounce your name?
A lot! Most people who’ve known me for a while get it right, but for people just meeting me, it’s a struggle. They’ll add all kinds of extra letters and syllables trying to say it. Whenever we have a substitute teacher, before they take attendance I just tell them, “It’s the first name on the list. I’m present.”
I love the chicken, bacon, ranch pizza from Tosi’s in Marlboro.
Your parents are from Nigeria. What’s it like growing up in that culture?
Food-wise, we eat a lot of rice. And my parents are very strict. Education is always the priority and I can’t play sports unless my grades are good.
How are the grades?
My overall average is a 95 and I take a lot of advanced placement courses.
Toughest person you’ve had to tackle?
Probably Nick Gallo from Schalmont. We played them in my sophomore year and I didn’t tackle him once. I hadn’t seen that kind of speed before.
Ever been run over?
Yeah. Again, sophomore year against Pleasantville in the regional game. I was blitzing on a fourth down and a lineman blindsided me and I went airborne; feet up in the air and everything. I got up and still got the sack. After the game, we watched that play on tape like 20 times and everyone was laughing at it. But it was the hardest hit I’ve ever taken.
Popular song you find annoying?
Anything from Iggy Azalea.
Best day of your life?
Probably last week when coach (Rich) Ward gave me a compliment after an interception in practice. I get criticized a lot in practice because I’m the person who’s responsible for setting up the defense. When anything goes wrong, I’m held accountable. So to get a compliment meant a lot. He said, “Great job. I knew you could do it.” I said, “Finally!”
What TV shows do you watch?
“Power” is the best show out right now, and I like “The Walking Dead.”
Physics. It’s also my toughest class. A lot of classes, you wonder, “Why are we doing this?” But physics makes sense to me. And, Mr. (Scott) Hisel is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.
Do you speak any Yoruba (a native language of Nigeria)?
I don’t, but I can tell when my parents are mad at me. I’ll hear my name and know from the context that I’m about to get yelled at.
What do you usually get yelled at about?
I’m tired when I get home, but I’ve got chores. If I have to mow the lawn or wash the dishes and I’m late on it, they’ll yell.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Physical therapist. I want to help people and still be around sports somewhat. I’ve been volunteering at Peak Physical Therapy in Newburgh since January and I like doing it.
If you interviewed yourself, what’s a question you would ask?
What does your name mean?
Kendrick Lamar, Wale, Drake, PartyNextDoor, Kehlani, Trey Songz.
I’ve been looking at Buffalo, Syracuse and Brockport. I want to stay in New York, but have a little distance from my parents. If I went to Marist, they’d be visiting me every day.
Will your parents yell at you when they read that?
It’s OK. I’ve already told them that.
Personality on the field compared to off it?
Off the field, I’m a nicer person. On the field, you can’t be that nice as a linebacker. I’m a lot more vocal on the field. Off it, I’m more cool and calm.
What’s your full name?
Olutayo Samuel Akinboboye.
And I have no idea why. My parents gave me, my brother and sister regular English middle names.
Place you’d most want to visit?
Probably Brazil. It has a lot of nice scenery.
The “One Gotta Go” game with wings, pizza, burgers and tacos?
I’d eliminate burgers. I like them, but pizza, wings and tacos definitely have to stay. In that order.
If you could trade places with one person?
I wouldn’t wanna be someone else. I like my life.
Stephen Haynes: [email protected], 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4