Auburn University football player, Prince Tega Wanogho Jr., came from Nigeria with no knowledge of the sport of football.
The 6-foot-8 and 245-pound right tackle moved to the United States in hopes to receive a college basketball scholarship. However, he ended up trying out for the football team.
“I was actually supposed to play basketball but it wasn’t basketball season yet and I didn’t want to be out of shape so I just started playing football in the meantime and I guess I just turned out to be pretty good at it,” Wanogho said.
Wanogho said switching from basketball to football was an easy decision to make once he started to receive college scholarship offers for football.
“There were a lot of difficulties for me, like learning the technique and rules. It wasn’t easy but they just told me to go get the quarterback…just to get the guy with the ball. I didn’t know what I was doing but that’s all I did.”
Wanogho played just one season of high school football at Edgewood Academy before schools recruited him from across the nation. He had 82 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries during his senior season.
Some of the universities that recruited him included: South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Oregon.
“My first college football game I ever went to was in Auburn and I just fell in love with it,” Wanogho said.
On choosing Auburn, Wanogho said, “Truly when you get recruited you hear the coaches saying this is like a family atmosphere and it is. Once you come here you see that they don’t just preach it, they actually practice what they preach.”
Wanogho started playing as a defensive end and tight end and then switched to right tackle.
“That’s how the game goes. Nothing is really permanent. You have to do whatever you are coached to do,” Wanogho said.
During the preseason summer football camp for Auburn University, Wanogho had to learn to make the transition from a defensive player to an offensive player.
“Playing offense now, I feel like I actually understand it more. It’s easier for me now because you already know what the play is going to be, the only thing you have to worry about it going to execute the play. You already know what to expect,” Wanogho said.
Wanogho says his teammate Robert Leff helped him with switching positions.
“Switching to offense wasn’t real easy. Robert Leff, he’s like a big brother and also like a mentor to me. He always tells me what to do and what I did wrong,” Wanogho said.
Wanogho saw playtime throughout the 2016 season as second string but is expected to see more next season.
“The right tackle we have right now is a senior, Robert Leff. He’s going to graduate soon and I have a big shoe to fill. But I feel like I’ll be able to do it because I’m strong, I’m big and I know my plays,” Wanogho said.
The Auburn University football team is currently getting ready next year’s season.
Wanogho said, “I have already made plans for the next season to get stronger, get to know my position more, gain a lot of experience and just be ready.”
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