When reading the stories of past and present football stars, we read about them knowing from an early age that playing football is something they wanted to do, or how they had dreams of making it big since they were a child. Oge Udeogu is saying the same thing as he is hoping to attend college and continue his football career. However, as a child he did not know anything about American football. He learned the game just a little over a year ago, and has only been living in the United States for the same amount of time. Today Oge has gone from not knowing what football is, to playing for a university, and playing football is not something he does just for fun, it is serving as a catalyst to make all of his dreams come true.
He was introduced to the game of football a little over a year ago when the high school football coach sat in at one of the basketball camps he attended during the summer. After watching him practice with the team, coach began talking to him about playing football. He recalls his coach saying “it was going to be a challenge and that it was going to be hard… one of the hardest things that I’d do.” He admits that “just because he said that it was going to be a challenge is why I wanted to do it even more.”
After deciding to give football a shot, he discovered just how challenging of a job it was going to be, and the first challenge that he faced was learning how to get into his stance correctly. “The first day of practice I could not get into my stance. I didn’t know what I was doing, it didn’t feel right, so I had to practice and it eventually became natural.”
Although he had trouble finding his stance, he says that the most difficult part of learning football were the rules. “I didn’t know any of the rules, and it was hard to learn everything, all of the little things of being a lineman; knowing what an offside was, or an encroachment… things like that and the terminology to the plays, like a pull were really hard to catch on.” He adds “when the coaches and players would talk about the plays I would not know what was going on.”
Within a year, his knowledge of football has done a 360. He started every game last fall, and is Division 1 colleges recruit today, with visits to Wisconsin, Illinois, and Oklahoma coming up, and already having visits with Indiana and Michigan State.
His family couldn’t be happier.
They were “actually very excited and happy for me,” he says. “As long as this is what I want to do, and this is what I want to do, they support me 100 percent. The fact that I can use it to get a good education, which is what they stress the most, is even better because I get to do what I want to do.”
Once he gets to a university he says that his goal will be to “perform and hopefully make it to the NFL.” He continues working on his technique with the O-line coach at Core 6, and confides that he has no hobbies aside from playing football because it takes up most of his time.
“Ever since the first day, that’s actually been it. I stopped playing basketball and focused everything on football. Everything I do is about football. In the off season I’ve been working out every day. My main goal is to get to the next level, the NFL, so that’s where I’m at.”
Oge could possibly become the next Amobi Okoye, who made it to the NFL after moving to the U.S. Although the two were not personally acquainted before he moved to the states, Oge has gotten to meet with the star defensive tackle, who has stressed to him the importance of schoolwork as well as hard work. He now considers Okoye a “role model,” and favorite player of his.
The 6’5 325-lb lineman tells me that he studies and “watches a lot of film” on Okoye, and has also taken a liking to Lions DT Ndamukong Suh. “I like his aggressiveness. That is something that I’m working to develop more is my aggressiveness because I like hitting people. He’s strong and has the same body type as me, so I really look up to him and want to intimidate other players the way that he does.” He hopes to add both styles of play into his game.
Oge Udeogu is much more experienced. He loves to play the game, and he loves to watch the game, and has a passion for the game. There is one
more thing that he would like the world to know: “from my very first day of football until now, I have learned that I have a very, very high work ethic,
and I just want to be the most successful. I want to play hard and reach my goal.”
By Shardanna Jones @Shaygotit