Eluemunor (pronounced E-LU-me-NOR) took his first FBS college visit Friday, checking out Penn State to learn more about the Nittany Lions, a visit he called “cool” and “exciting.”
“It was more than I expected actually; the stadium was huge, everything was big, the weight room looks great,” Eluemunor said. “We went out in the stadium, and I was like 'Whoa, this is real big.' I was just walking around, the coaches were amazing. The trainer, the strength and conditioning coach, and everyone around the football program.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound lineman has blown up on the recruiting scene in recent weeks, holding 14 offers as of his visit to Happy Valley. And while he'll eventually visit some of those other programs, the trip to see head coach Bill O'Brien's program was a special one for Eluemunor, who didn't recognize his dream of playing American football until he came to the United States when he was 14.
It was then that his father, John, decided to move his family from England to New Jersey, citing the chance for a better life in America as the reason.
The younger Eluemunor quickly grew to love American football, something he says he always wanted to play, and eventually selected Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.) after finishing high school at Morris Knolls in Morristown, N.J. The trip to Penn State, and the courting from top programs around the country, is something the unassuming Brit couldn't have imagined in his wildest dreams
“We really came here to live a better life,” Eluemunor said. “In England … there's not much over there, and there are a lot of opportunities here, and my dad knew it would be better growing-up wise. He saw America as the best choice. I didn't think I would blow up as much as I did, but it's good that I came to America and lived out my dream. My family gave me a chance to come over here, and I'm truly blessed.”
The family spent the day touring campus with O'Brien and Nittany Lion offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, two men with whom the JUCO sophomore immediately connected and bonded.
“I like Coach Mac a lot, both as an offensive line coach and as a person,” Eluemunor said. “He's a great person to be around, and I've been talking to him a lot. Coach O'Brien tells you the truth. You know you can trust Coach Mac and Coach O'Brien.”
Penn State has not relied heavily on JUCO prospects through the years. So Eluemunor didn't expect to receive an early morning phone call from McWhorter and O'Brien to offer him on Feb. 26, just hours after he had completed watching Penn State football videos the night before.
But now he knows he can play for the Lion coaches and that they want him. He knows more about what they can offer him now, too.
“I knew the coaches, but I didn't know them that well, so I got to meet them personally, and it was really good,” Eluemunor said. “The coaches were just amazing. They tried to show me everything, and I got to learn from them that they really want me up there, and that meant a lot to me.
“They took me around to academic people and the stadium,” he added. “Basically, it was really cool.”