Iowa State OL grad transfer Oge Udeogu 'strongly considering' CMU after visit, plans to decide soon
Oge Udeogu compares the college football graduate transfer market to NFL free agency.
When looking to bring in a graduate transfer, each team has a list of prospects that it would like to join the program. Once a specific player on that position group list makes a decision, it can spark a domino effect.
Udeogu is right in the middle of it all, as he's highly considering Central Michigan with immediate eligibility for the 2019 season.
From April 8-9, Udeogu was in Mount Pleasant for an official visit, his second since he began exploring options as a transfer. The first was to Massachusetts from April 5-7.
Udeogu interacted with coach Jim McElwain, offensive line coach Mike Cummings, defensive end Sean Adesanya and quarterback Quinten Dormady, along with attending practice, joining the offensive linemen for meetings and much more.
Fresh off the visit, Udeogu said the Chippewas are a "favorite," and he might even make a next stop decision before the end of the week.
"From a program standpoint, coach Mac is running things well," Udeogu told Central Michigan Life. "They've got a good team, just need a couple of pieces and it could really take off. That was the intriguing thing.
"I just have to talk it out with my family."
Central Michigan has only been able to work with eight offensive linemen thus far in spring practice, as McElwain recently said. Adding Udeogu's 6-foot-3, 310-pound frame with veteran knowledge to that position room would be beneficial.
"They presented me with the fact that there's a big need on the offensive line," Udeogu said. "Even from watching practice, it's clear there's a need. There's an opportunity to come in and play."
CMU's new offense resembles Iowa State
Udeogu said the new offense under McElwain is similar to what he was a part of at Iowa State. He was pegged as a starter at the guard position until an injury to his triceps at the elbow caused a major setback just two weeks before the 2017 season.
He never fully recovered for the 2017 or 2018 campaigns. Nevertheless, Udeogu believes transitioning to CMU's style would be easy due to his time with the Cyclones.
From what Udeogu saw at practice and was told by the coaches, the overarching point of the offense is getting the ball to playmakers in order to make the offense go with a full head of steam.
"Running a lot of gap schemes and counters," Udeogu said. "They run multiple types of offenses, not just one thing. They mix-and-match to scheme it up based off personnel and the opposing defense. Pretty much creating the best angles and situations to make plays."
McElwain also said he's looking for leaders and will continue to evaluate which players step up throughout spring and fall camp. He said it could be a freshman or a senior; a starter or a bench warmer. Due to his football background, Udeogu thinks he could lead, even as a first-year Chippewa.
Meeting Dormady, Adesanya
When Udeogu wasn't at practice or in the meeting room with coaches, he spent time getting to learn the culture of the program. Two of the players he talked with most were Dormady and Adesanya.
"It was a good time hanging out and chopping it up with them," Udeogu said. "We got a good relationship just from talking about how they like (CMU)."
Udeogu is much like Dormady and Adesanya, as both came to the Chippewas through the graduate transfer market. Dormady joined CMU this December, while Adesanya came over prior to the 2018 season and got plenty of playing time under former coach John Bonamego. Both players battled injuries throughout their career, just like Udeogu.
Dormady told Udeogu that he's enjoying his chance to compete for the starting job at the Division I level for McElwain and offensive coordinator Charlie Frye after making the rare double-graduate transfer from Tennessee to Houston to CMU.
"He said coming out (to CMU) gave him the opportunity to go where he wants to go. He's in a position where he can do that," Udeogu said of his conversation with Dormady. "He's a really cool guy, and we really hit it off. He's definitely someone I can see myself growing with, and maybe blocking for in the future."
Adesanya came to Mount Pleasant from Illinois, where he rarely found the field due to multiple injuries holding him back. He made 29 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, three sacks, one pass defended, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the Chippewas last season.
"He just told me he's been through it," Udeogu said. "He knows where I'm coming from. He said, 'This is the place to be and the place to bring your career back to get it on track in order to get to the next level.'"
'Coach Cummings is awesome'
Cummings once developed former CMU offensive lineman Eric Fisher into the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Udeogu is highly impressed with that. Now that the offensive line coach is back with the Chippewas under McElwain, he might just have the chance to develop Udeogu into a top-notch NFL prospect as well.
From sitting through meetings and watching him coach, Udeogu said Cummings is someone he wants by his side for the journey.
"He's a character, man. I like him," Udeogu said. "He's someone I definitely want to get coached up by. He has a great personality, not just a hard ass all the time. He will coach you up and get you right, but off the field, he will take care of you. That's someone I want to play for."
More than just Cummings, the entire staff made an impact on Udeogu – from the offensive side of the ball to the defensive side. He's thankful for another opportunity to play Division I football as a sixth-year college student, especially since the last time he got game action was at City College of San Francisco (JUCO) in 2015.
"It's awesome that they are giving me another shot at this. A lot of people don't get this opportunity," he added. "Coach Mac has been to the NFL and everywhere, so it's something else when these coaches acknowledge my skill and want to bring me in."
Decision coming soon
Now that Udeogu has finished his official visits to UMass and CMU, he might make a decision within the week. He's considering checking out either Colorado State or FIU but doesn't know if he needs to after what he saw from the Minutemen and Chippewas.
If Udeogu signs with CMU as a graduate transfer, he will arrive in Mount Pleasant this summer to get acclimated with new teammates, workout and begin studying the playbook in preparation for the season opener on Aug. 29 against Albany at Kelly/Short Stadium.
"I'm strongly considering them," Udeogu said of CMU. "I saw a lot of good things in what I was looking for. They are high up there.
"I should be nearing a decision soon."