Mackenzie Nworah (Manvel, Texas) was born in the United States and has lived in the United States for pretty much his entire life. But for a three-year stretch, from ages 11-13, Nworah actually went to live in West Africa at his parents’ behest.
“My parents, they’re of African decent and they wanted me to expand my horizons, so to speak,” said the 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive guard, who holds scholarship offers from Maryland, Colorado and Arizona State. “They wanted me to learn the culture, learn a new culture, and just experience something different. I ended up going to a Turkish school out there, and they used the British school system, so I went to a very good school. But the lifestyle and culture I experienced was a lot different than [in the U.S.]
“I had an amazing time, though. Just seeing how things are in Africa, how people live, and adapting to the life there -- it was a great, great experience and very interesting.”
That experience will likely serve Nworah well in the long run, although it did delay the start of his football career. Many native Texans are reared in the gridiron game, but since Nworah spent his middle school years in Africa, he didn’t start donning pads and a helmet until his freshman year at Manvel.
“I’m still learning the game, and I know I’m behind some other guys from around here because I started late,” Nworah said. “But I’ve been working really hard since my freshman year, and I believe I’m getting the hang of things. I’m getting bigger, stronger and faster, and obviously [college coaches] are noticing.”
Indeed they are. Arizona State and Colorado came in with offers earlier this winter, while Maryland anted up Feb. 23.
“I was very excited about [the Maryland] offer, and they’re a very good program academically and for football, so that’s exciting as well,” Nworah said. “Coach [Keenan] McCardell messaged me on Twitter and told me to call him, and the offer came from there. Him and Coach [Randy] Edsall talked about the things they admired about me as a player, and how I’m very good student-athlete too. They commended me on getting good grades, and then as soon as they saw my film, they liked everything about it and wanted to offer. I was honored.”
Nworah has just started to develop a relationship with McCardell, although he’s seen him around plenty. The Terps offered a few Manvel prospects last year, and McCardell made a few stops through the renowned Texas program.
“I really don’t know Coach McCardell too well personally yet, but I know he’s been around since he came to check out a few of our guys,” Nworah said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know him though. I know he played in the NFL before, and I’ve heard great things.”
Although he lives in Big 12 country, Nworah does remember catching at least two Maryland games on TV last year. He’s also well aware the Terps compete in the Big Ten and emphasize academics.
“From what I saw, I liked Maryland, just the way they competed against Michigan State and how they beat Penn State,” said Nworah, who noted he’d most likely be playing guard in college. “They’re in the Big Ten, too, and that’s a really good conference. So Maryland has that going for them, and it’s a really good school from an education standpoint.”
Nworah has never been on the East Coast before, but he said he’d like to visit College Park, Md., this summer.
Of course, that may depend how his recruitment shapes up between now and then.
In addition to Colorado and Arizona State, which have already offered, Nworah has been hearing from TCU, SMU, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Auburn and Boston College, with others bound to surface.
Nworah visited TCU and SMU for junior days and took to both programs, noting how he’d love to garner verbals from both. He’s also looking to visit both Colorado and Arizona State since those were his first two offers.
“But I’m still open right now. It doesn’t really matter whether a school is in-state or out of state at the moment, but it would be an advantage if it’s in state so I could see my family more often,” Nworah said. “But as long as the school is good academically and I feel comfortable, [location] isn’t a huge factor for me.
“But, you know, I haven’t made any firm decisions yet. Everything is still on the table for me right now.”
Nworah will likely go through the recruiting process and select his college destination following his senior season.
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