In this first installment of “Meet your Pittsburgh Steelers” I will profile rookie defensive lineman Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (EEK-pom-osa EEG-bin-oh-sin). The goal of these articles is to help you get to know some of the lesser known members of the Steelers roster. I can’t promise you that all these guys are going to make the team, but some of them are really fascinating stories of how they made their way to the NFL.
The story of Igbinosun starts in Nigeria. Both of his parents were from the city of Benin, Nigeria and both were very accomplished athletes in their own right. His father Solomon was a semi-pro soccer player and his mother Mercy was a star in the field of long distance running. His parents chose to move to the United States and settled in the Rahway, NJ. This is where Igbinosun was born.
By all accounts he was a naturally gifted athlete doing well in basketball and football, before choosing to focus on football in high school. He was part of some very successful teams, but after spending his first 2 years on offense before moving to defense for his jenior and senior seasons, he wasn’t far enough along t0 get any DI offers.
But that didn’t deter him. He ended up playing football at Southern Connecticut State. This name shouldn’t be unheard of for NFL fans and big defensive linemen. While it is only an NAIA school current San Diego Chargers defensive end Jacques Cesaire also played for the Owls. Igbinosun had an excellent career at Southern Connecticut State and while it wasn’t enough to get him drafted, it did draw the attention of several NFL teams and the Steelers offered him a free agent contract. Next thing you know, Igbinosun is in Steelers camp.
From a football standpoint Ibginosun has nice size and speed but needs to show he can be more stout at the point of attack. The team has really rallied around him, and he’s become a team and fan favorite and that has to help his confidence. I personally will be rooting for him and can’t wait to see him play in a preseason game.
The odds of Igbinosun making the final 53 man roster isn’t great. I’d say his best shot at this point is to work hard, make plays when he can in preseason and hope he gets stashed away on the practice squad. Igbinosun is a good player with excellent quickness and nice athleticism. He needs to get a little bigger and a lot stronger to hang with NFL caliber offensive linemen. But his story is an exceptional one, and any time we can highlight an athlete like this who comes from immigrants, especially Nigeria which is rare in the league, you have to cheer for the guy and hope that he can make the team.
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