Mean Green standout impresses on Pro Day

Mean Green standout impresses on Pro Day

March 24
22:06 2010

By Eric Johnson / Senior Staff Writer –

Big dreams and hope filled Fouts Field on Wednesday morning as the eyes of nine former Mean Green football players lit up at the chance of playing in the NFL.

More than a dozen NFL scouts were on hand to watch as the players showed off their speed, strength and agility during UNT’s Pro Day.

One man stood out in the eyes of the scouts: former All-Sun Belt middle linebacker Tobe Nwigwe.

“Nwigwe looks like an NFL player, and he has a legitimate chance to play at the next level,” said C.O. Brocato, who has become a legend during his 35-year scouting career and is currently the Tennessee Titans National Supervisor of College Scouting. “What we are looking for is someone who measures out well, but they also have to have a passion for football and be able to play. There are a lot of great athletes, but it is very simple, if you can play, you can play, and Tobe can play.”

The Houston native was a tackling machine for the Mean Green, finishing his career with 212 tackles in his 29 starts. After tearing a tendon in his left foot, the defensive captain was forced to miss the final six games of his college career.

“The injury definitely hurt me,” Nwigwe said. “It crushed me to not be out there with my guys and finish my career on a high note, but I think that I showed my toughness and my desire for football by still showing up and working out today.”

At 6-foot-1-inch and 245 pounds, Nwigwe has the perfect build for an inside linebacker in the NFL.
But what really makes him stand out is his energy, and the passion that oozes from him.

“Tobe is a special player, and you can’t measure how valuable he is,” UNT head coach Todd Dodge said. “He is always working to get better, and pushing his teammates to improve their game. He loves the game of football and always wants to play, which is exactly what you want in a football player.”

After rehabbing his injured foot for two months, Nwigwe spent six weeks in Atlanta working out with 25 other potential NFL players.

“Football is not something I like, it is something I love, and I will do whatever it takes to make it to the next level,” Nwigwe said. “Football is who I am, and my work ethic really sets me apart. I am always going to out work every other guy around me.”

The St. Louis Rams have taken an interest in the charismatic linebacker, flying down to Houston two weeks ago to give him an individual workout. Nwigwe sparked more interest Wednesday afternoon after an impressive performance in position drills, as scouts from the Rams, Saints, Falcons and Patriots surrounded him.

“The NFL is the only option I see for myself right now,” Nwigwe said. “Playing football at the highest level is something I have dreamed about since I was just a kid in little league, and I am going to keep grinding until I realize my dream.”

Nwigwe has come a long way from the impressionable young kid that athletic director Rick Villarreal met five years ago.

“He was easily influenced by the wrong people when he got here, but I have never seen someone mature so much in a five year span,” Villarreal said. “He is a unbelievable talent on the field, but I think more importantly he has grown into a man that is respected and will represent himself and this university well at the next level.”

The 23-year-old UNT graduate will spend the next month doing individual workouts and interviews for NFL teams in anticipation of hearing his name called during the seven-round NFL Draft April 22-24, or he could make a team as an undrafted free agent after the draft.

The Mean Green has not had a player drafted since the Raiders took linebacker Cody Spencer in the sixth round in 2004, but does have three players currently in the NFL.

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