Edoga’s transition from international brand of football to American variety proves smart decision
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
August 16, 2014 12:28 AM | 2183 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Soccer was Chuma Edoga’s first love growing up, as it was for much of his family. It wasn’t until sixth grade when Edoga played football for the first time — a decision that’s paid great dividends. Now, he’s one of the top offensive linemen in the country, with a scholarship to play at Southern Cal his for the taking.
<Br>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Soccer was Chuma Edoga’s first love growing up, as it was for much of his family. It wasn’t until sixth grade when Edoga played football for the first time — a decision that’s paid great dividends. Now, he’s one of the top offensive linemen in the country, with a scholarship to play at Southern Cal his for the taking.
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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In ESPN’s recruiting database for the class of 2015, Chuma Edoga is the 20th-ranked player overall and the third-ranked offensive tackle.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound McEachern standout, wasn’t handed this lofty ranking. He got to this place through hard work, dedication and some fancy footwork.

Edoga grew up playing soccer as a child. His family was very involved in the sport, so playing the game was just a natural progression for him.

“Everybody in my family played soccer,” said Edoga, a member of the 2014 Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen. “My dad played soccer. My sister played soccer, too, so it was kind of like a family sport.”

Because of his size, Edoga played center defense, and he stayed with soccer through the eighth grade.

“I used to be small and played soccer until I got to ninth grade,” he said. “I used to be lanky and small. I was probably 6 feet tall, just big enough, tall enough and fast enough to play sweeper.”

It was also during his time in middle school that Edoga decided to add football to his repertoire.

“A lot of my friends were telling me that I should come out and try to play football,” Edoga said. “They told me how they think I’d be better at it. I actually liked football more than I did soccer. I liked the physical aspect of the game.”

Edoga started playing football in sixth grade, and played both sports throughout middle school. Because of his height and frame, he played tackle along the offensive line.

“I’ve been on the offensive line since middle school,” he said.

Football eventually became Edoga’s preferred sport, and he stopped playing soccer before his freshman year at McEachern.

“When you’re a little kid, you get in trouble for hitting people, but in football, you don’t get in trouble,” Edoga said. “You’re allowed to do it. I thought that was pretty cool. Nobody in my family minded that I switched to football, and it’s worked out.”

Edoga’s transition to football also led to a transition with his body, but his footwork helped him stand out and become one of the nation’s best offensive tackles.

“Soccer gave me the ability to have good feet and athleticism,” he said. “That helped me a lot.”

Edoga received scholarship offers from a long list of the nation’s top colleges, including Georgia, Stanford and Texas A&M, but he ultimately committed to Southern California in April.

“I didn’t see all this happening when I switched to football,” said Edoga, who maintains a 3.6 grade-point average. “When I first started, I really wasn’t even all that good, honestly. I really didn’t think (all the college offers were) going to happen. It’s really all a surprise.

“I just worked on my technique and getting stronger and stuff like that. Just really learning the game.”

Edoga didn’t plan on going so far away from home for college, but after visiting USC, he knew it was where he wanted to be.

One of the Trojan recruiters who swayed Edoga’s decision was Tee Martin, the former Tennessee quarterback who spent the 2007 season as an assistant at North Cobb.

“I wasn’t really interested in going so far from home until USC offered me and I looked into it,” he said. “I visited, and then decided that I wouldn’t mind going far from home.”

Now, Edoga is hoping to bring a state championship home for McEachern.

“I’m extremely excited to get the season started,” he said. “We have a lot of good stuff, and I feel like we have a good season ahead of us right now. We have a lot of young players stepping up, too, and a lot of returning starters, so I feel like we’re going to have a good season.”
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