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His new sport gave football another ‘Nigerian Nightmare’

The newspaper industry provided me a four-decade career experiencing inspiration, dedication and just plain fun. The start of my career covering the Chargers, college, high school sports and Olympic athletes came full circle with Don Coryell’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction on August 5 in Canton, Ohio. I helped Hall of Famer Dan Fouts with research on Coryell’s remarkable record of first-time Pro Bowlers with the SAN DIEGO Chargers and Cardinal for Fouts’ presentation to the voters

PHOTO (News & Observer): Southeast Raleigh lineman Chase Robinson stops a Wake Forest running back.

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GARNER — South Garner High’s Nnamdi Ogboko dominated in his younger days on the AAU basketball circuit, but his coach often told him football was his future, even though it meant steering away his best player.

Corey Hairston, an AAU hoop coach who doubles as South Garner football’s offensive coordinator, envisioned Ogboko as a prototypical nose tackle. And that’s exactly what the 6-foot-5, 350-pounder has grown into as a senior committed to Georgia, the two-time national champion churning out XXXXL-sized NFL defensive linemen.

But projecting a unique athlete’s future whose Nigerian name is pronounced NAHM-dee Oh-boh-koh was the easy part. Hairston’s challenge was convincing a kid to give up his first love for a sport he never played until his junior year of high school.

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Previous weekly features this season:

— September 8, Southeast Raleigh’s Chase Robinson, two offers.

— September 1, Southern Durham’s Isaiah Campbell, 30-plus offers.

— August 25, Rolesville’s Isiah Jones, committed to NC State

— August 18, Millbrook’s Mason Fortune, underrated prospect.


I invite you to follow me on Twitter @shanny4055.

Click here for my story on the 1962 Rose Bowl and Segregation awarded first place by the Football Writers Association of America. I tell untold stories on Michigan State’s leading role and the true pioneers of college football integration. Click here to read a summary.

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Click here to purchase Raye of Light.


Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the 1ntegration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans

Foreword by Tony Dungy

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