Rivals250 OT Obinna Eze commits to Memphis over SEC powers
Class of 2017 Nashville (Tenn.) Davidson Academy offensive lineman Obinna Eze has taken a unique road to football stardom and now he's using a unique approach to the recruiting process. Despite offers and overtures from some of the SEC's best programs, Eze committed to Memphis on Monday afternoon, shocking many recruiting onlookers.
But for the 6-foot-8 offensive lineman who moved from Nigeria to the United States to pursue an athletic career, it wasn't a decision he came to lightly.
"I choose Memphis because I have a great relationship with them," Eze said. "Recruiting is hard and people lie and say what they want but I was able to believe in them and trust them. They have a great business school and I found myself a great opportunity to play. I feel comfortable over there.”
While the decision may raise some eyebrows, Eze let it be known that he's his own man.
"My message has always been, me going to Memphis is like showing who I am as a person," Eze said. "Like I’ve always said, I don’t give a crap about names and conferences and big places. I give a crap about relationships and where I feel comfortable and who I can trust."
Eze came to a America without any family and said he wanted to find a campus and coaching staff that he knew would look after him both on and off the field.
"Coming here to America and not having my family it’s about who I can trust and who I can be comfortable around," Eze said. "Everything else comes after that. I’m not going to the SEC, but I have the people I can trust and I feel like I have a great opportunity can play and the right coach that can mold me into who I want to be as a player. I thin, it’s a perfect fit. I think it’s about fit and family and I think I found it in Memphis."
As far as how he will fit on the field, Eze said he's had regular conversations with the Tigers coaches about how he will develop once he's on campus.
"I don’t think there’s a huge pressure to force me to play right away," Eze said. "They’ve told me that if I’m good enough I will, but if not I’ll redshirt and I’ll be at my best after that. They have plans for me and how I'm going to get better if a guy knows what he’s doing he can make you better in a garage, you don't need fancy facilities. But they are upgrading stuff there, too, so I should have everything I need."
Eze's main recruiter for the Tigers has been offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield and the two have developed quite the bond during the recruiting process.
"Our relationship is great," Eze said. "I kind of feel like he’s an uncle or a big brother. I feel like I can talk to him about stuff outside of football. Probably more than any other coach I’ve dealt with."
Once he officially made his decision, Eze called the Memphis coaches to let them know and he said the staff was beyond thrilled.
"On the phone they were really excited– the head coach said 'you’ve made my day, you’ve made my year,'" Eze said. "I’m not going to say I’m really excited but I’m happy that I’m making a choice that I’m comfortable with. I finally feel like I’m ready. I’ve never been a guy that follows protocols and I'm glad to be taking my own path."
Eze joins four-star tight end Nick Robinson as the second four-star in the Tigers 2017 recruiting class.