NFL International Player Pathway spotlight: Kenneth Odumegwu, Nigeria

Following the success of three Nigerian athletes in the NFL’s International Player Pathway (IPP) program last year, 2022 saw nearly a dozen more young men from the west African state garner attention. 

Six of the 11 chosen from those who attended the IPP combine in London to attend the next stage are from Nigeria, making it without a doubt the most successful country in the program this year.

One of those Nigerians is Kenneth Odumegwu, a defensive lineman from Anambra State in Nigeria. Like many of the other athletes, Odumegwu found his way to football via Educational Basketball after being referred by fellow IPP participant David Agoha. 

Educational Basketball brothers and founders Olutobi and Iseolupo Adepitan put the 6 ‘5″, 266-pound Odumegwu through his paces in December 2021 and told him they believed he had what it took to play football.

Early in 2022, Odumegwu traveled to the Nigerian capital Abuja to attend Osi Umenyiora’s NFL Africa Camp. It was here that Umenyiora told Odumegwu he would be playing defensive end and preparing for the NFL IPP combine in London later that year.

Odumegwu was awarded defensive MVP at the camp and was one of the more highly anticipated athletes coming into the combine due to his imposing physique and an alleged 4.8 40-yard dash and 33.5-inch vertical jump.

The young Nigerian is now set to join his peers at the LeCharles Bently facility in Arizona early in 2023 in the hope of being one of the final four to be allocated to an NFL team shortly after the NFL Draft.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.