David Agoha forging his own path to NFL with hopes to grow football internationally

By Levi Edwards, Digital Team Reporter

At the end of his media availability following the preseason victory against the Rams, Head Coach Josh McDaniels had a question of his own for the reporters.

“No David Agoha questions, huh?” McDaniels, with a grin, asked the room.

He seemed shocked no other reporters mentioned the edge rusher – acquired through the NFL International Pathway Program – who sacked Brett Rypien for the team’s lone sack in the game.

The media in the room gave a chuckle, but the head coach was serious. If no one was going to ask about Agoha, he was going to address the young player regardless.

“I just think that’s really cool,” McDaniels said. “For him, the first sack and then the response from the team I think says a lot about David and the kind of kid he is. So really happy to see him do that.”

What makes Agoha’s sack so impressive is not that was it was in his second game in the NFL, it came in his second football game of his life. As a matter of fact, Agoha had never stepped foot on an American football field until 2022.

He grew up in Festac Town, a federal housing estate in Lagos, Nigeria – the most populated city in the continent of Africa. Agoha used New York City as a comparison to the “go here, go there, always moving” mentality of Lagos. Despite never playing football growing up, he was active in many sports. From as early as he can remember he played soccer, basketball, table tennis and boxing.

In his senior year of high school, he went through a growth spurt that took him from 5-foot-9 to around his current height of 6-foot-4. With the growth spurt came an abundance of athleticism with it. So much athleticism, he nearly went pro in two other sports before entering the NFL.

“I just wanted to do something different. Do the right thing and be on the right path,” Agoha said. “We had a lot of sports so when you’re a little kid, whatever your friends are doing, you just do it. Sometimes it might be soccer, sometimes it might be table tennis, but when I really started getting serious [about sports] it was boxing.”

After years of training, he was preparing to move to America to become a professional boxer. It never came to be as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing him to stay in Nigeria. During the pandemic, he shifted his focus to basketball.

Modeling his game after Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time NBA MVP who’s also of Nigerian descent, Agoha earned a spot on the Invaders of Ado Ekiti in Nigeria’s Premier Basketball League. He still holds that time in his life near to his heart, as the friends he made playing basketball helped take his mind off the stresses of the pandemic.

Basketball also gave him something besides his friends: an introduction to the game of football. Agoha was a member of Educational Basketball, an exclusive player development program for African athletes. Former All-Pro defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora reached out to Educational Basketball to see if they had any athletes who could potentially make the transition over to football and would like to participate in a camp. Agoha was top of mind.

“I was one of the first people that got called up,” Agoha said of participating in the NFL Africa camp. “I think they saw clips of me dunking and they just called me up. I knew nothing about football bro. I’d seen movies, but it just seemed brutal. I was just like, ‘What’s going on here?’ I knew nothing about football to be honest with you.

“I knew it was hard sport because I heard people get injured, so I was kind of skeptical at first. I didn’t know if I could do this. But I had to give it a shot.”