Nigerian Americans NFL draft 2018
The Los Angles Chargers selected linebacker Uchenna Nwosu with the 48th pick in the 2018 draft. He went to school at University of Southern California. Initially Nwosu had difficulty deciding whether he wanted to play football. He played some middle school ball, but quit and did not play until his sophomore year in high school. He was a Los Angeles all-city pick as a senior, earning a scholarship from one of his hometown schools. Nwosu was named a co-MVP of USC along with quarterback Sam Darnold. He was also on the watchlist for the Butkus Award. Following his senior season, he participated in the 2018 Senior Bowl.
Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. He attended Florida State University. Listed at 6-foot-1, 312 pounds, Nnadi is not the largest nose tackle in front of scouts during the 2017 season. Few will outwork him, however, as he was named a third-team All-ACC selection, compiling 56 tackles, 10 for loss, and 3.5 sacks in 13 starts. ACC coaches named him first-team all-conference in 2016 after earning the team’s Defensive Most Improved Player award in the spring. Nnadi started 11 of 13 games played, fighting through an early-season ankle injury to be credited with 49 tackles from the middle, 10.5 for loss, and six sacks. He collected third-team all-conference accolades from league media as a sophomore, starting every game (45 tackles, two sacks), following a true freshman campaign that saw him on the field for nine games (18 tackles, six against Georgia Tech’s triple-option rushing attack in the ACC Championship Game). Despite his lack of height, Nnadi was considered a top 10 defensive tackle prospect nationally after amassing 33 sacks in his final two years of high school ball.
Pittsburgh Steelers draft Western Michigan tackle Chukwuma Okorafor in third round. Chukwuma Okorafor is well traveled, living in Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana and Southfield before spending the last four years in Kalamazoo. Okorafor received numerous All-American accolades and a first-team all-conference nod for his play as a senior in 12 starts at the left tackle spot.
Joel Iyiegbuniwe (Agu-Igbo)
Bears drafted Joel Iyiegbuniwe. Iyiegbuniwe will graduate from the pre-med program at Western Kentucky in May, and he has an eye on one day attending medical school to become a pediatrician. But first he medical education has to wait for NFL career.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – Drafted by Rams
Former Oklahoma linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the 160th overall pick during the NFL draft’s fifth round. Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo was the son of Nigerian immigrants, and a defensive end recruit from Houston Alief Taylor High School before going to Oklahoma. He was also named second-team All-American with Jefferson by the Associated Press for his efforts.
Texans selected Wake Forest DE Duke Ejiofor in 6th Round as a defensive end, he will help Texans to facilitate their defensive front. Ejiofor’s parents emigrated from Nigeria years ago, and you can tell by Duke and his siblings’ names (Prince, Kingsley) that they come from royalty in that country.
Aruna selected by Vikings as Defensive end in the 7th round 2018 draft. The 24-year-old was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States by himself when he was 16. “It was really tough, especially for me,” Aruna said of leaving his family behind in Nigeria. “I’ve been wanting to do something since I was born. My father put a lot of responsibility on me as the fourth child of the house. I wanted to do something that I was going to be proud of for the rest of my life. “So, it was my decision. My parents didn’t have anything to do with it. They just blessed me and wished me good luck on everything,” Aruna added. “I came over just to do something for my family and bring joy to my country and my family.”
Aruna came to the United State from Nigeria to attend high school and play basketball. A coach at La Lumiere High School in Indiana saw Aruna’s build and convinced him to play football in his senior season. He received a three-star rating despite only playing one season of football, and Tulane signed him to a scholarship offer. Aruna redshirted in 2013 and played in eight games the following year, making seven tackles with one sack. He gained enough experience in those seasons to start 11 of 12 games as a sophomore, totaling 32 stops, five for loss, three sacks, and two pass breakups. Aruna had his best year in 2016, starting all 12 games, posting 43 tackles, 10 for loss and five sacks. He could only manage 25 tackles and three sacks in 11 starts (12 games played) in 2017.