Obinna Eze explains intro to football, interest in Vols

Obinna Eze starting playing football less than a year ago. Now, the Nigerian transplant is grateful of the attention he's receiving from college recruiters.v

Arm length. Athleticism. Knee bend. Quick feet.

Possessing all the qualities of a premier offensive tackle, fast becoming a household name in recruiting circles is Obinna Eze.

The Nigerian that plays his prep football in Nashville is a 6-foot-7, 280-pounder whose upside is generating a buzz.

Auburn, Duke, LSU, Kentucky and Vanderbilt have all offered.

“Pretty much all of them are making a strong move towards me,” Eze told InsideTennessee. “Duke has visited my school the most. They come to talk to my coach at my school the most.”

While star ratings and camp invites can sometimes go to the head of teenage recruits, Eze realizes how blessed he is.

“The first time I called my Mom back in Nigeria and said, ‘Hey, Mom, I got a scholarship to go to college,” she was crying on the phone,” he said. “People don’t get to see me everyday but people don’t know how much I appreciate this. Coming from nothing to something like this, that’s a lot for me. I’m grateful for it. I appreciate it. That’s why I try to stay humble, try to stay respectful, try not to be arrogant. No matter how many offers I get, I’m still going to be me, I’m still going to be humble, I’m still going to be grateful for the little things and the big things too.”

If coach Butch Jones and staff pull the trigger, Tennessee would have a legitimate shot at landing the bookend.

“I like Tennessee a lot,” Eze said after a pause and a smile. “That’s the first college I’ve ever been to in America. The reception from Butch Jones…it was good, man, trust me. Tennessee felt like home.”

The junior blocker has already made his way to Tennessee’s campus twice and has a positive vibe toward the Big Orange.

“I like Tennessee, I like Tennessee,” Eze told InsideTennessee. “Like I visited the game against Oklahoma. I like it.”

The Davidson Academy standout was in attendance to see the Volunteers play Oklahoma at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville with a sellout crowd of 102,455 last September.

“Man, I’ve got to tell you,” Eze said, “Tennessee probably ranks top 3 of giving me chills of American college football. It’s unbelievable, man. The first day I went there, it wasn’t on a gameday. I just looked at it and said, ‘OK, I’ve never seen anything like it before.’”

Big Orange Country had to be a shock to the system. Eze didn’t begin even playing football until 10 months ago.

“God has a way of directing peoples’ path,” he said. “I didn’t want to play football but first of all I had a good relationship with the people I was living with. So, it was easy for me to trust them when they said, ‘Hey, man, I think you’re going to be good at football.’ I didn’t start at football because I loved football. I started football because I had a good relationship and a good trust with my family in America. I know that no matter what happened they were going to take care of me. I stepped into football on trust and now I love the game — trust me, I do.”

As new as football itself is to the lengthy blocker, he’s just as green at the recruiting side of things.

“There’s a lot of things I’m looking for,” Eze said. “Obviously things can change. There are alternatives to everything. Basically, I’m looking for a good relationship, I’m looking for an opportunity to play, and I’m looking for a good education.

“These are the three main ones.”

Expectations are for Eze to make his third trip to Knoxville this weekend.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories