Inside the Class of '05: Ishie Oduegwu

The 13th in a daily series of interviews and photo essays on members of the Longhorn Class of '05: Signee Ishie Oduegwu.

Ishie Oduegwu
(ISH-ee ah-duh-WAY-go)
Denton Ryan HS
NR: 12 SR: 31 Star Rating: ****

An Inside Texas conversation with Ryan head coach Joey Florence on Ishie Oduegwu:

IT: What are Ishie's strengths as a football player?

Florence: He's probably one of the most physical defensive backs around. Obviously, he's the best tackler I've coached in my 16 years so he's an outstanding physical safety (and) a lot of people are wanting that in their secondary.

IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Ishie?

Florence: It's the same thing: his physicalness and his ability to tackle in the open field.

IT: What are Ishie's current measurables?

Florence: Five-eleven, 195.

IT: Where did he play for you guys?

Florence: He most of the time played free safety for us.

IT: Where does he project at the next level?

Florence: Safety. I think that's his natural position. Obviously he's got to get a little bigger but he's a safety in my opinion.

IT: Does that mean he has the defensive "quarterback" skills?

Florence: Oh yeah. No doubt, no doubt. He's a player by his actions. He'll let his hittin' do the talkin'. He's a great player.

IT: What are the areas of his game that Ishie needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?

Florence: Nothing more than his size. He's got to get a little bigger if he's going to play on that level and I think he will. I think he'll get in the weight room up there with Maddog and those guys and I think he'll get stronger and a little bit bigger. That is his major issue.

IT: Is Ishie a leader, and if so, how does he lead?

Florence: He's quiet. He doesn't say a whole lot but he just goes out and makes plays. He leads by example, which is what we like and I think Texas will enjoy that too. I think he'll just go out there and take care of his business.

IT: What did Ishie mean to your football program?

Florence: He played some as a freshman. He's been a three-year starter for us and he led our defense. The kid ended up with 400-something tackles in his career here, set the school record... He meant a lot because we place a premium on defense here. If you're going to win big on any level you've got to play great defense and Ishie certainly set that standard for us and like I said, after 400 something tackles, we're going to miss him.

IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Ishie's ability as a football player?

Florence: As a freshman, we got in a couple of playoff games and we got in the game and his first game I think he made 11 tackles and we knew then that he was going to be really special. We had an idea but we just didn't know how special but I think that kinda tipped us that he was fixin' to be a great player for us.

UT's Signing Day bio: Four-year letterman and three-year starter at safety … also saw time at punt returner, kick returner, tailback, wide receiver and linebacker … a two-time first-team All-State pick and a three-time first-team All-District selection … totaled 478 tackles, eight INTs, and 25 PBUs in his career … helped Ryan post a 41-5 record in three years as a starter, including the 2002 state title … named first-team All-State by The Associated Press and Texas Sports Writers Association as senior … also tabbed first-team All-District (5-5A) … helped lead Ryan to a 12-2 record and the state quarterfinals in its first season of 5A that season … recorded 167 tackles, five INTs and 20 TFLs as a senior … had 23 tackles and over 100 kick return yards versus Keller in 2004 … named honorable mention All-State by the Texas Sports Writers Association as a junior … also named first-team All-District (6-4A) … led Ryan to a 14-2 record (7-0 District) and Class 4A Division II Runner Up that year … had 148 tackles, two INTs, and two punt return TDs and earned Team Defensive MVP honors as a junior … tabbed first-team All-District (6-4A) as a sophomore … helped Ryan to a 15-1 record and the 4A Division II State Championship that season … registered 152 tackles as a sophomore … also played basketball as a junior and senior … enjoys playing video games and playing the drums … played the piano from age 5-11 … born May 21, 1987 in Denton, Texas … also lived in Washington, D.C., from third grade to sixth grade.

"I think Texas is a great program. It's one of the best, if not the best, in the nation. The way the players are taken care of, it's a really good sign that they care about their players that much."

*Photo courtesy of David Thomas/Denton ISD*


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