If you like old school football, line it up and dominate the line of scrimmage, watching the junior year film of offensive tackle Noel Ofori-Nyadu will cause you to sit back and smile. From Arlington, TX, the UConn commit attends Mansfield Timberview High School, a member of Texas’ new District 10-5A Division, perhaps the strongest conference in all of the Lonestar state.
Listed at 6’4″ 285-lbs, Ofori-Nyadu finishes blocks and as his tape displays, he regularly pancakes his opponents. After talking football, the recruiting process and his journey to this point in his career, it was easy to see why head coach Randy Edsall likes what he will bring to the table. Character and maturity were at the forefront, as were academics, one of the first things he mentioned about why he decided to commit to the Huskies.
“I have a good feeling about the program and I really like what Coach Edsall has going on,” Ofori-Nyadu said over the phone last week. “I know they are rebuilding and I just wanted to be a part of that. Especially with the academic side of how UConn is in the Top 20 for public schools. It was just one thing where academics and football went together. It makes the decision easier on me, especially with the major that I’m doing, Allied Health Sciences. I want to be an anesthesiologist.”
“I just love helping people,” he responded. “Being helpful, communicating and just being outgoing with others.”
Certainly sounds like a future leader. Ofori-Nyadu took in a visit to UConn back in October and like a typical lineman, one thing stood out immediately.
“I really liked the food,” he said with a laugh. “I ate a lot. I loved the food.”
Food will continue to help his body develop into a dominant force at the line of scrimmage at the college level and he’s already working to improve himself in that regard.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” he said of his workout regimen. “I’ve been in the weight room and have gained a bit, I think I’m at 289-lbs right now. I’m just going to keep working. When I come up there and follow the plan, I know they will get me at the right weight and strength [for my position].”
He mentioned food, but that wasn’t all he enjoyed about his time at UConn.
“I really liked the campus life,” he said. “The people made it a great experience.”
He is originally from Maryland before moving to Texas and knows the east coast well. Getting back to what he called a ‘East Coast type of feeling’ was something he enjoyed while visiting earlier this year. He also plans on committing on December 20th, the first early signing day under the new NCAA rules passed earlier this year and there’s a reason he wants to get up here early.
“I’m signing in December and enrolling in the spring,” he confirmed. “I just felt like being a mid-year guy has a lot of opportunities, especially coming in early, learning the playbook before everyone else and getting into it, meeting the players and building a bond. When it comes to the Fall, I’ll already be used to the environment. I’ll know where my classes are, I’ll know the schedule and I’ll know my football schedule.”
Despite playing in Texas where football is king, Ofori-Nyadu did not get a head start in the game.
“Throughout my years playing football, I never played Pee-Wee,” he said. “I never had the time or the resources to go ahead and do it. So when I started in seventh-grade, it’s a testament to my coaches. They are the ones who basically helped me grow up into the person I am, especially my high school coaches. They are a really big part of everything. My offensive line coach, head coach, they’ve really helped me with teamwork and becoming a hard worker in everything I do.”
That’s when he began to sound like his future head coach here in Storrs.
“If you do the little things right, be on time, it just helps you get that mindset that transfers over to life,” he said. “The simple things that you can do will also help you in life. I feel like every lesson in football is a life lesson that can take you far.”
Edsall had paid the future Husky an in-home visit the night before we talked and Ofori-Nyadu could only rave about the coach he will be committing the next four-to-five years of his life to.
“Coach Edsall is a good guy,” he said. “He has a great attitude. He knows what he’s doing, wants the best for his players and wants to get the best out of you. Anything he can do to get the best out of you, he’ll do it. That’s what I really like out of him. He sees that this is really about student-athletes, so I can see he really cares about you being a student rather than being just an athlete. Football will only take you so far, but your academics, that’s what makes you in life. I feel like he has that principle down.”
Pointing to an example that was shared during his visit made it’s clear he understands how Edsall views the student aspect of student-athlete.
“When I was up there, they mentioned if you’re failing a class, doing bad in classes, that goes straight to him,” he said. “He takes care of it. There’s no side-track, it’s straight to the head coach. I feel like he will get the team and everyone right.”
When asked to describe himself as a player, there was clear alignment with how the Huskies staff views getting better.
“I do what I’m supposed to do, I know all the plays and I always work on my technique,” Ofori-Nyadu explained. “That’s one thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how good technique is. You can be as strong and fast as possible, but without technique, it really doesn’t help. That’s one thing that my coaches have helped implant in me, craft my technique. You can know the plays, but you have to have the right footwork. One thing that a lot of coaches loved about me and my film was the way that I run down field, play low and play aggressive with my hands, I’m also physical. Those are things that stood out to coaches when I talked to them. A lot of coaches really wanted me because they felt I could be a game changer in their programs.”
There’s no doubt that head coach Randy Edsall and line coach J.B. Grimes feel the same way, as Ofori-Nyadu could add to the depth across the front, as the Huskies continue to develop a unit that will grow into one that regularly displays dominance at the line of scrimmage.
MATT SCHONVISKY / SITE CREATOR