SOURCE – When Todd Taylor met Edgewood Academy’s new exchange student at the Montgomery Regional Airport in late July 2014, once hands were shaken and pleasantries swapped, he suggested Prince Tega Wanogho start his new life in the United States by accompanying him to Delta baggage claim to retrieve his suitcase.
“This is it,” Wanogho said, motioning to the small backpack that hung from his shoulder. “This is all I have.”
Inside that backpack was one change of clothes, a Nigerian passport and a student visa, a few family photographs, a bible gifted to him by his mother, and $20 cash he’d converted from his country’s depressed naira currency. Those were the only tools he brought to pursue his goal of a college basketball scholarship and whatever prosperity he could create for his family back in Delta State, Nigeria. It was light traveling, indeed, for a one-way flight to a new world and no immediate plans to return home.
I assumed Daivon Taylor’s story was going to be the craziest of the Eagles’ draft picks, but Prince Tega Wanogho’s trumped that real quick. He took an 18 hour flight with a backpack, dead Nokia phone, a bible, some pictures of family, and a basketball dream. He was 6’7 and showed up on the radar of a basketball coach in Alabama. He only started picking up football as a way to stay in shape during the offseason and ran a 4.6 40 for the first time in his life in sneakers.
He also went from this scrawny teenager.
To a 310 lb behemoth.
I can’t believe these two are the same dude.
And now he’s an NFL Draft pick.
A late-comer to the sport, Wanogho gained over 50 pounds and has gone through a crash course in football experience since stepping onto campus as a raw athlete with just a year of high school experience. His shorter arms will be an issue against long-limbed defenders, but instinctive, quick hands and an ability to swat and re-establish as a hand fighter should help counter that concern. The footwork and body control are just OK, but he’s loose-hipped and tremendously athletic with rare recovery ability when beaten. He may never be a plus run blocker, but he should keep improving with additional work and experience. Wanogho’s NFL play may be inconsistent, but his talent and ability to keep rushers off his quarterback is what matters most, and it should make him a long-time starter with development. Very late-comer to the sport, but possesses excellent athletic ability and improving skill-set to handle NFL pass protection on the left side. His issues are more technical and experience-based than physical.
Most importantly he’s a protector. Definitely qualities I like to have in my OL’s.
GET BIG SON!