Nigerian OL grad transfer Oge Udeogu could finish career at CMU to complete intriguing football journey
Oge Udeogu was born in Chicago but lived nearly his entire life in Imo, Nigeria.
Sooner than later, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound offensive lineman could be in Mount Pleasant playing for the Central Michigan football team.
Udeogu's father, Raphael Udeogu, moved from Nigeria to Schaumburg, Illinois – a small town just outside of Chicago – when he was 18 years old to make a life for himself in the United States. He earned a degree from Howard University in mechanical engineering.
Using his degree, Raphael earned a job at Motorola.
It was in the United States that Raphael had three sons: Oge, Ugo and Chinedu Udeogu.
Ugo was an All-Pioneer Football League Honorable Mention for an impressive senior campaign as a defensive lineman for Division I FCS Butler in 2018 and worked out in front of NFL scouts at Ball State's Pro Day on April 3.
Chinedu is an outside linebacker and defensive end for Cal. He took a redshirt as a freshman in 2016 but has produced impressive seasons in 2017 and 2018 off the bench. Chinedu's played in Cal's last 22 games off the bench and is fighting for a starting spot for 2019.
When Oge finished first grade in the United States, his father moved the entire family back to Nigeria.
"Motorola gave him a job in Nigeria since he’s from Nigeria," Oge said. "It worked out perfectly. We all were raised in Nigeria."
Oge moved back to the Chicago area for his junior and senior year at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. At this time, Oge was living with his aunt.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pound offensive lineman is unlike his brothers. He's older and made it to Iowa State in 2016 but never got on the field with the Cyclones.
Now, as a graduate transfer, Oge is considering joining Central Michigan in 2019 for his final season of eligibility.
Leaving Saint Viator High, the lineman went to City College of San Francisco for the 2014 and 2015 seasons and left as a three-star recruit and the 17th-best JUCO offensive tackle. Oge, whose team won back-to-back Northern California championships, picked Iowa State over Houston, Louisville, Illinois and others.
“I set the blueprint for them," Oge said of his brothers. "As the first one to come out here, I’m glad I could do it for them. I’m glad we were all able to throw notes back and forth to help each other.”
The coaching staff at Iowa State had Oge take a redshirt for his first year of Division I college football in 2016 to get adjusted to the new atmosphere.
By the time the 2017 season was rolling around, Oge was pegged as a starter – until an injury to his triceps at the elbow caused a major setback.
"Up until then, I was the starter," Oge said. "After meeting with the trainers and the coach, the smartest decision was for me to get surgery."
Hoping to come back from injury in 2018, his offensive line coach at Iowa State, Tom Manning, had already departed from the Cyclones to coach tight ends for the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. Since leaving for the Colts, Manning returned to Iowa State on Jan. 18, 2019.
Oge's arm was still not fully healthy, and he took a medical redshirt and got a waiver from the NCAA to gain an extra year of eligibility as a graduate transfer.
His sights are set on a few different schools – Massachusetts, Central Michigan, Houston and Fresno State.
Oge has an official visit to UMass from April 5-7 and aims to check out CMU on April 8-9. Following his visit to see the Chippewas, he plans to see Houston and Fresno State. All four schools have offered him a scholarship to play next season.
Since Oge began gauging interest from the Chippewas, he's been in contact with offensive line coach Mike Cummings. Oge said it's key that Cummings developed former CMU star Eric Fisher, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.
"I got good vibes from him," Oge said. "He knows what he’s doing, and I’m just looking forward to getting in front of him, getting more involved and seeing the program.”
Oge's also interested in playing for coach Jim McElwain, as his name carries national weight as the 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year at Colorado State (2012-14) and 2015 SEC Coach of the Year at Florida (2015-17).
Connections are key in making it to the NFL, and Oge believes McElwain provides a combination of top-notch coaching and connections.
"He’s a great coach, very well-known," Oge said. "That definitely carries some weight in my decision to whether I will attend CMU.”
Besides the coaching staff and overall feel of a university, the depth chart is another thing Oge is considering when making a decision on his next college stop.
The offensive line position for the Chippewas has been lacking in years past, so Oge believes he has the chance to impose his abilities immediately. As a graduate transfer, there's no time to sit the bench.
"The depth chart is very important, and that’s why Central really piqued my interest," he said.
Oge is a versatile offensive lineman, getting reps at both left and right guard with the first team during practice at Iowa State. He's best at run blocking but enjoys setting up the passing game.
"I love putting people in the dirt and taking people from one point to another against their will," Oge said enthusiastically.
He was successful on the field at the JUCO level and in practice at Iowa State. However, a crucial injury held Oge back from shining on the gridiron for the Cyclones. This year is his chance to make an impact before looking to the NFL.
And CMU might be just the place for him to tap into his potential.
"Honestly, if not for my injury, I’d probably be getting ready for the NFL draft right now, but that’s not how my cards fell," Oge said.
"I’m just trying to get into it, put out some film and show the scouts what I can do.”