OSU Football: Amen Ogbongbemiga Learned The Value Of Opportunity In Journey From Nigeria To Canada

“It was all about us,” Amen said. “They moved for better opportunity for their children. They didn’t care about having a good life for themselves more than they cared about something better for us as children.”

Alex transferred to the University of Calgary, continuing football and eventually playing in the Canadian Football League.

“We saw our parents work hard to give us the best chance at a better life,” Alex said. “Academics have always been important to our family. I got my degree in economics. Our sister, Alexis, is in pharmacy school, and Amen has been on the academic All-Big 12 list three times.”

While Alex was in college, he began to see the doors that could be opening for Amen because of his football talent. Working a part-time job and living at home, he helped the family fund Amen’s trips — which were not cheap from Calgary — to Notre Dame, Oklahoma State and other places for camps and junior events.

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“When playing college football became a goal for Amen, it became a goal for all of us,” said Alex, who also reached out to colleges on Amen’s behalf. “I knew all he needed was an opportunity. I had been through the process before, so I know what he needed to do. How to work out, how to eat, how to prepare and take care of his body.”

Amen got his chance at Oklahoma State, and after redshirt year, then two as primarily a special teams contributor, he has blossomed this season in the starting lineup.

He leads the team in tackles for loss with 14, tied for the lead with 3.5 sacks and second in total tackles with 80, playing a critical role in the middle of the defense.

“He’s a great kid,” OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “I was extremely hard on hard on him last year, because I knew he was going to end up being the leader of our defense. As the middle linebacker, he controls a lot more than people now, and he does a good job of it.”