There are stories every year of recruits who started playing football late and turn themselves into scholarship athletes in college, and the story of Saint Viator offensive lineman Oge Udeogu fits into that category, but his has another unique twist.
Last year, Udeogu moved to the United States from Nigeria without even knowing what American football was. He was a good athlete, having played basketball and was planning to play for his new high school, and that's when he got noticed.
"At basketball camp, the football coach sat in and watched me and afterwards, he asked me to play. He told me how hard it would be and the commitment it would take. I like accepting challenges and I wanted to challenge myself to see how good I could really be. I didn't know any of the rules, but after hard work, I learned everything."
And then some, Udeogu started every game last fall. At 6'5, 325-lbs, he has imposing natural size and strength. He is now working with former All-American offensive lineman Mike Jones at Core6 Athletes to improve technically. The recruiting attention has started coming in too and the unofficial visits are just beginning.
"So far [Michigan State and Indiana] are the only two schools I've visited. I have a couple more left to go to. Tuesday, I'm going to Northwestern and then I'm going to Iowa. I'm going to go up to Eastern Illinois and Ball State and for now, that's it, but hopefully there will be a lot before I start back up with school."
The visit to Bloomington allowed Udeogu to familiarize himself with the campus, surroundings, and maybe most importantly, the coaching staff.
"The coaches are really good. I like how they coached. I like their coaching style. The facilities were amazing. I liked the speed of practice. They want me to come to camp, and said if I do well there, I'm going to get offered by them."
Michigan State was also impressive.
"I thought it was a really really good program. I was able to see everything. The awards and trophies and all of the All-Americans. I really like the O-Line coach. I saw him teaching and got to sit in on a meeting, and I saw that he really knew his stuff."
The Spartans along with several other schools want Udeogu to camp and he hopes to drop from 325 to 310-lbs before he goes to those camps.
"I've been receiving letters from Wisconsin, and I filled out a questionnaire. I've been talking to coach Lester Erb from Iowa about coming down there. Purdue wants me to come to summer camp, Ohio State invited me to their summer camp, and Illinois wants me to come to camp."
Even the idea of going to a football camp to earn a scholarship for playing the sport would have seemed far fetched last Summer. Now, Udeogu has a passion for the game and the desire to continue playing it for as long as he can.
"I love the sport. I fell in love with it after first day of practice. Right now, [playing in college] is my top goal. I want to play against top competition."