You won’t believe how Seahawks rookie Ugo Amadi ended up in PNW
Aug 2, 2019, 8:39 PM
“It’s a crazy story, so you might want to get comfortable.”
Rookie Seahawks safety Ugo Amadi says that with a smile after he’s asked how he made his way from hometown, Nashville, Tenn., all the way to Oregon, where he played college football.
His story is truly remarkable, almost unheard of. It would include a 24-hour commitment-turned-de-commitment, a wrong number and a new commitment, sight unseen. Ugo told the story in great detail Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore.
“Coming out of high school, I graduated early. At the time, I committed to Ole Miss during my senior year,” Amadi says. “After the season, me and the head coach at the time, Hugh Freeze, we agreed that I would come in early after I graduated – in December – which I did.”
Pretty standard at this point for a strong academic athlete. Football players who obtain their high school degrees in December, referred to as “midyears,” are able to get a running start on their careers by enrolling in college for the second semester of what would be their senior year of high school. There are many advantages, including a jump start on their academic workload and participating in spring football.
However, things would be anything but standard for Amadi.
“Time came around, and the next thing you know, (Freeze) wants to bring me in the summertime and bring me into juco. I told him I didn’t want to do that. He said, ‘That’s the only option,’” Amadi says.
He decided to de-commit.
Perhaps this was a stressful time in his life, but Amadi describes it as anything but. He’s as engaging as he is confident as he continues his story.
“After that, tons of SEC schools kept coming over. Next day – Les Miles was the head coach of LSU at the time – him and (former LSU defensive coordinator) John Chavis came to my school the next day, offered me a scholarship,” Amadi says. “I ended up – this is crazy, too – I ended up committing to LSU the day they played in the Music City Bowl in Nashville. They played Notre Dame that year. Right after the game, John Chavis leaves and takes a job at (Texas) A&M.”
It was decision time once again.
“I’m sitting at the table with my parents, like, ‘Man, where am I gonna go?'” he says. “John Chavis is the one who recruited me and he didn’t tell me he was gonna leave. The day I committed is the day he leaves, so it was unbalanced.”
He continued to explain, “I’m talking to the DB coach there (at LSU) – at that time when a new DC came,they would wipe out the whole staff, bring in their own guys. So I’m thinking that may happen. So I’m just sitting there home my whole family, we’re all stressed. Where am I gonna go?”
Chavis wasn’t going away, though. He clearly saw something special in Amadi, having offered him at LSU in the first place.
“Forty-eight hours later, John Chavis offers me at A&M, and at this point I’m like, ‘I can’t trust you now.’ I’m a kid at this time, now it comes with trust. So I’m not gonna take the A&M offer.”
Amadi, due to being in Nashville, was primarily recruited by SEC schools to this point. So, as Dave Wyman asked him Thursday, how did he end up all the way in Oregon?
This is when his story takes its most unexpected twist.
“My trainer at the time back in Nashville says he knew (Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh’s assistant, and he texted him and said: ‘I’ve got this four-star DB interested in your program. I wanna get him an offer or a visit.'”
This is the text he gets back:
“This isn’t so-and-so, but I’m the DB coach at Oregon, and we need DBs bad in this class. Can you send me his transcripts?”
Call it a crazy coincidence, divine intervention or whatever you want. The rest is history.
“I sent in my transcript, everything turned out good,” Amadi says. “After the Rose Bowl game, they offered me a scholarship. I signed to Oregon without even visiting or anything. Sight unseen.
“I had no idea Oregon was gonna be the one for me. God had a bigger plan for me.”
I have officially committed to The University of Oregon‼️ I want to thank @RileyElite3 and his associates with this recruiting process.
— Ugo Amadi (@UAmadi7_) January 9, 2015
Two de-commitments, a wrong number and a signing without a visit is the short version of what led to an illustrious four-year career in Eugene. His achievements extended far beyond the football field, as well.
In 2018, Amadi’s senior year, he won the Lombardi Award, an honor given annually to the best college football player regardless of position, based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency.
“That award blindsided me, I had no idea… At this time, I’m in California training for the combine. I was going up against Kyler Murray, the tackle from Kansas State (Dalton Risner), some Clemson guys – I was like ‘I have no chance. That list is serious.'”
Amadi explains the evaluation for such a prestigious award as: “Being a good person both on and off the field. Being able to be who you are – it’s not something you can fake. This is just who I am. I’m blessed to be able to smile every day. Even when I’m having a bad day, I’m always smiling.”
Don’t let the smile fool you, though – Ugo Amadi is a baller. He recorded six interceptions his last two years, three pick-sixes and four forced fumbles. Some welcome stats for a revamped Seahawks secondary that Amadi is prepared to enter.
“God gave me this ability and I’m gonna use every inch of it,” he says. “I may be small (Amadi is listed at 5 foot 9), but I’m gonna have something to battle with the taller guys.”
After Amadi’s long road to the Pacific Northwest, he didn’t have to travel much farther as the Seahawks selected him in the fourth round with the 132nd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Time will tell how he fits into Pete Carroll’s defense, but so far in training camp he has yet to disappoint.