A lifelong dream came true for one Elon Football player, Ikenna Nwokeji, over a phone call with his agent. From college football to the National Football League (NFL), one hope turned into a reality for this offensive line player.
“[My agent] said, 'Are you ready...You’re going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler,'” said Nwokeji.
Nwokeji graduated from Elon last year as an undergraduate student and began his Masters of Business Administration degree with Elon this past fall. Now, leaving the program a bit earlier than expected, Nwokeji says this whirlwind of events is exciting but intimidating.
“This is not fun and games...this is straight business,” said Nwokeji.
The road to the NFL has been full of ups and downs for Nwokeji and the Elon football program. He spoke about the challenges faced during his college football career, including many losses and grueling hours on the field. He says this only made him stronger as an athlete and individual, making it possible to be the player he is today.
“I came in with a lot of good guys and I count those guys as my brothers today, but as we started progressing through our years at Elon, things just weren’t going well. We weren’t winning too many games and there just was a big struggle within the team,” said Nwokeji.
Damian Wroblewski, one of Elon's assistant football coaches, believes Nwokeji’s grit and determination is what sets him apart as an athlete.
“I can count on one hand the amount of practices Ike has missed due to some kind of injury. But day in and day out, despite what the outcome was, highs or lows, Ike was there everyday,” said Wroblewski.
Wroblewski spoke about Nwokeji as a “man built for the game,” standing 6-feet-6-inches tall and weighing 282 pounds. He said his length and natural build makes him a crucial player for the offensive line.
“He’s got God-given measurements. He’s very tall. He’s very long. When you look at the human population, and how many people are that big, that’s a starting point,” said Wroblewski.
Before Nwokeji took off on his professional football journey, leaving Rhodes stadium behind, there was one question that had to be asked: his favorite NFL team.
“I’m a Pats fan...but now I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” Nwokeji said.