Nigerian Gets a Shot at the NFL After Leaning of the Game 5 Years Ago on Youtube

Nigerian Haggai Ndubuisi only heard of American football for the first time when he was 18 after seeing the game on Youtube. Now he is a Denver Broncos defensive tackle in the NFL.

The Lagos, Nigeria, native first became interested in America’s game after watching a compilation video of some of the league’s hardest hits, the Washington Post reported on Aug. 17.

Ndubuisi said that when he was a teen, he got his friends together, and they practiced playing football, even though they really didn’t understand all the rules. He also studied the game and practiced on his own.

Not long ago, Ndubuisi got a chance to try out when he was chosen by the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program (IPPP), led by Super Bowl champion and former NFL player Osi Umenyiora.

“I was just enjoying it. Like … this is what I want to do,” Ndubuisi said of his experience at his first IPPP training camp.

Ultimately, as a member of the program, Ndubuisi first tried out for the Arizona Cardinals last year. And this year, he was allocated to the Broncos. He didn’t play a regular season game and so far is part of the team’s practice squad, but at least he has a shot at stepping up to the 53-man roster if coaches think he is showing promise.

That is a long, long way from a small village in Nigeria.

Denver Broncos defensive tackle Jordan Jackson (90) and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Haggai Ndubuisi (64) at the Denver Broncos Back Together Weekend training camp practice at Centura Health Training Center July 29, 2023. (Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Ndubuisi said joining the Broncos is “a dream come true and a sign of hope that the best is yet to come.”

He has already earned a few stats, too. In his first pre-season game, Ndubuisi recorded two tackles in Denver’s Aug. 11 game against the Cardinals.

Another member of the IPPP also earned his first stat this month.

Basil “CJ” Okoye, also of Nigeria, earned a sack for the Los Angeles Chargers in their pre-season game against the L.A. Rams.

“Sometimes it hits me, ‘You’re in the States with the Chargers in the NFL. You need to make the most out of it,’” Okoye said.

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