OSU football linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu is a freshman Kinesiology major in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. His desire to get in the best shape possible piqued an interest in kinesiology, his current field of study. “I’ve always been a fit guy and always wanted to know how I can get myself stronger, fitter, faster,” he said. “Kinesiology seemed like the field of study for me.”
Bright Ugwoegbu (pronounced oog-way-boo) is a prototypical college linebacker when he’s wearing his No. 47 uniform.
He’s lean (6-foot-1, 217 pounds) and fit. A multisport athlete at Seven Lakes High School in Katy, Texas, he’s athletic, runs well, loves to hit, and is making a strong case for a starting role in a position where opportunity abounds due to graduation and other circumstances.
“After having a good spring and being in the mix right now, my goal is to hopefully become a freshman All-American, to be a leader on the defense and contribute in any way that I can,” he said, speaking while cooling off after a recent practice.
An all-district honoree and top-100 Houston Chronicle prospect following his senior year at Seven Lakes, he has a big future on the field and it would not be surprising to see him in the starting lineup with the Beavers host Weber State at 5 p.m. Sept. 4 in their 2015 opener on the Pac-12 Networks.
He separates himself from the pack when he steps off the field, though.
“My goal is to hopefully become a freshman All-American, to be a leader on the defense and contribute in any way that I can.”
Already an accomplished musician, student and world citizen at just 19 years of age, Ugwoegbu constantly strives to surpass the lofty expectations instilled in him by his parents, the late Nigerian diplomat Bright Ugwoegbu and his wife, Grace.
“I have always been ambitious and goal-oriented, said Bright, who was born in London before moving to Nigeria as a 3-year-old and then to the Houston area at 9 years of age. “That comes from the way I was raised by my family, especially my dad,” a founder of the People’s Democratic Party in Nigeria’s Imo State who passed away in May, 2014.
“He told me, ‘If you want something, go get it. There is nothing you can’t succeed in if you put your mind to it.’”
Bright played goalie and striker in soccer as a youth. After arriving in Texas, however, he discovered football and was immediately smitten.
“On my way to soccer one day I noticed a bunch of kids running around and hitting each other and just making a whole lot of noise,” he recalled. “I looked over there and said, ‘That looks like a lot of fun.’
“The main thing I liked about football was the vast amount of things I could do, with this frame, body size and athleticism. It was very interesting to me. From there I started trying to convince my parents to let me play.”
His parents questioned if Bright had the physical attributes to withstand the pounding he would receive in football.
“My father always told me I had to get bigger and stronger to keep up with all those other kids who had played football since they were young,” Bright said. “I just put my mind to it, worked hard at it every day, and here I am.”
Serendipity played a role in his joining the Beavers. Seven Lakes coach Lydell Wilson has previously worked at nearby Lamar Consolidated High, where he coached James and Jacquizz Rodgers. He tipped off the Beavers and eventually former linebackers coach Trent Bray called with a scholarship offer.
Bright had no qualms about accepting the scholarship and adding Corvallis to his growing list of hometowns.
“I’m accustomed to change, I really like it,” he said. “Moving wasn’t a big deal. I preferred going away from home so I could build my own character and fend for myself.”
“I’ve always been a fit guy and always wanted to know how I can get myself stronger, fitter, faster. Kinesiology seemed like the field of study for me.”
Originally interested in mechanical engineering major, his desire to get in the best shape possible piqued an interest in kinesiology, his current field of study.
“I’ve always been a fit guy and always wanted to know how I can get myself stronger, fitter, faster,” he said. “Kinesiology seemed like the field of study for me.
“It’s been working so far. The workload is going to get harder as it goes on but that’s just how life goes.”
Music also plays a major role in his life. He played drums as a youth (“I loved the noise and watching kids go crazy on the drums,” he said), then learned to read music in choir and taught himself to play the piano. He also plays the guitar, and breaks into song whenever possible.
“All types of music interest me,” he said. “You can always catch me singing in the locker room; if I have my headphones on I’m singing.”
Like almost everyone on the team, Bright hopes to play professionally after leaving OSU. But his long-range planning includes a full life after football, and remaining connected with the Beavers.
“I can see myself coming back to Oregon State and giving back to the school that’s given me so much already,” he said. “I love this community, I love the way coach Andersen has built this team.
“If he ever contacted me in 10 years to come back, even just to say some words to the players, I’d be here in an instant. I would love to come back and give back to the team any way possible.”
This story was originally posted at OSUBeavers.com.