Ragsdale’s Nwokolo signs with Furman
Coming into his freshman year of high school, Brian Nwokolo had a long way to go to be a standout football player. Four years later, through his hard work and dedication to the game, he became exactly that.
Now, Nwokolo, a standout defensive end at Ragsdale, is preparing to build on the solid foundation he’s laid at the next level, signing with Furman University of the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
“It’s really an exciting moment,” says Nwokolo, the son of Austin and Nancy of Jamestown. “I’m extremely happy to have the opportunity to play on another level. I’m really excited.”
Throughout middle school, Nwokolo was a wrestler. It wasn’t until he got to Ragsdale that he started playing football, in large part because a number of wrestlers he knew decided to play. The physicality and toughness kept him coming back.
His freshman season was a bit of a grind. But what he took from that season – the dedication, the hard work – is what shaped the rest of his career with the Tigers, who’ve consistently been one of the area’s top teams in recent years.
“I hadn’t really played it before and it was kind of a new thing, so I didn’t have the best year,”Nwokolo says. “But I really worked hard on it in the offseason, getting in the weight room, and then I started to really enjoy it.”
His sophomore season he moved up from J.V. to varsity and, through his coaches’ help and his own determination, he grew into a three-year starter and an All-Piedmont Triad 4A Conference performer. In his senior year, he tallied 40 tackles and 16 sacks.
It has been that kind of dedication to improving himself as a player that leads longtime Ragsdale coach Tommy Norwood to believe in Nwokolo’s future is bright at Furman, where he will start work almost immediately to build on his sizable frame.
“Next year, you probably won’t recognize him at this time,” Norwood says. “He’s tall and lanky and they’ll got a lot of weight on him. He’s going to be a really good player. I think with the increase in strength and size there’s no telling how good he can be in that Southern Conference. And I think they see that in him as well.”
After attending a Furman camp over the summer and receiving an offer, Nwokolo, who also narrowed his choices to include N.C. A&T State, decided that the Paladins, led by head coach Bruce Fowler, were the best all-around fit for him, personally, athletically and educationally.
“I’m really confident in my decision. I really like the focus on education, and I like the people there,” says Nwokolo, who wants to eventually go into medicine. “The coaches just seem like they’re family-oriented.”