Nigerian Football Star’s American Dream Comes True, Commits To University Of Tennessee

Emmanuel Okoye, 18, has only been playing football for a year but so much has happened. The Nigerian has a real chance of making it to the NFL, and that’s even before he steps foot on a college campus.

After he was scouted at a basketball training camp in Lagos, Okoye was given a chance to participate in an NFL Africa camp in Ghana.

Former NFL player, Osi Umenyiora (the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons) first noticed Okoye on social media. After recognizing the kid’s talent, he invited Okoya to the inaugural Uprise American Football talent identification camp. He was running the invitational in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The two-time Super Bowl winner had high praise for the young athlete.

“I think he’s probably more athletic than most people I’ve seen even in the NFL and they are some crazy athletes,” Umenyiora said. “He has a completely different level that he has been able to get to and his numbers indicate that.The abilities he has are second-to-none and once he starts to train properly and eat properly he is just going to go to a completely different level. I’m actually afraid for people.”

After just three games for the Loughborough University-based NFL Academy, people noticed his skills. Reps from the University of South Carolina, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt University were among the Division 1 schools vying for his athleticism. But he has committed to the University of Tennessee.

“It’s happened so fast,” Okoye expressed to BBC East Midlands Today. “I’ve just had to take it in. I can’t take it as so much of a surprise, because I might be knocked down.”

Okoye said he appreciates Umenyiora’s praise, but he wants to remain focused so he can make a successful transition to big-time college football in the United States.