9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know

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The National Football League (NFL) has been making inroads in Africa. It set up programs in different parts of the continent to develop the game to help in scout players. Already, some of the players in the NFL come from Africa. In this blog post, you’ll read about some of these players, including Uchenna Nwosu, Chukuma Okorafor, and Ezekiel Ansah among others. 

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1. Kwity Paye

9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know
Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kwity Paye is one of the NFL players from Africa. He currently plays for the Indianapolis Colts as a defensive end. He was drafted into the team in 2021 as pick 21 from the first round.  

Kwity Paye, born in a refugee camp in Guinea, began his NFL career in high school. He was a promising prospect from early on, having won the Football Player of the Year Award. He then joined Michigan from 2017 to 2020 and then joined the NFL.

2. Ezekiel Ansah

9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know
Defensive End NFL Player Ezekiel Ansha. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

 The Ghanian born defensive end is one of the NFL players from Africa. He played soccer and basketball and even went back to his high school and became a basketball tutor. He entered American football after unsuccessfully trying to join his college’s basketball team. 

To join NFL, he was spotted in a 100m race and was convinced to try football. This is where it all started. He represented Brigham Young University for two years (2010 to 2012). In 2013, Detroit Lions drafted him as a fifth pick. He played for the team until 2018 and then joined Seattle Seahawks for the 2019 season.

In 2020, he moved to his current team, the San Francisco 49ers

3. Uchenna Nwosu

9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know
Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchena Nwosu. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Although Uchenna Nwosu was born in America, he is of Nigerian descent. He played football for the University of South Carolina (USC) and was one of its standout players. The outside linebacker played in the 2014 Holiday Bowl and, in 2018, played in the Senior Super Bowl. 

In the same year, the Los Angeles Chargers drafted him as a 48th pick. He stayed with them for three years. In 2022, he signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know
Cleveland Browns Defensive End Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Nigerian-American is another NFL player from Africa. Ogbonnia is a defensive end for the Cleveland Browns, his third team in the league. The Los Angeles Rams were the first team to acquire his services in 2018 as a 160th pick. He represented the Rams until 2021 and then moved to the Houston Texans for the 2022 season. He was part of the Los Angeles Rams team that won the Super Bowl LVI. 

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5. Ndamukong Suh

Suh is of Cameroonian heritage. His father is from Cameroon and moved to Portland, Oregon. In fact, he played for the Cameroon national football team. The player was born in the United States. He has a decorated career history.

Suh’s first NFL team was the Detroit Lions, who drafted him in 2010 as a second pick. He played for them until 2014. In 2015, he moved to the Miami Dolphins for the next two years and then spent 2018 at the Los Angeles Rams. From 2019 to 2021, Suh was at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the Philadelphia Eagles

Suh is a Super Bowl champion and has won many more individual awards, including:

  • NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2010)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (2010)
  • Outland Trophy (2009)
  • Lombardi Trophy (2009)
  • 5 Pro Bowl (2010, 2012-2014, 2016)

6. Chukwuma Okorafor 

Chukwuma Okorafor was born in Nigeria. His family emigrated to the United States and he joined Southfield High School, where his professional career began. He played in the defensive and offensive line. He played college football for Western Michigan between 2014 and 2017. In 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him as a 92nd pick.

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7. Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogbah 

Emmanual Ikechukwu was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States with his family when he was nine. He attended George Bush High School and then went to Oklahoma State University. He was part of the football team between 2012 and 2015.

In 2016, Ikechukwu Ogbah was drafted as a 32nd pick by the Cleveland Browns. He moved to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 and then joined the Miami Dolphins, where he currently plays. Ike is a Super Bowl champion. He won it in 2019 with the Kansas City Chiefs.

8. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Born in Virginia, Jeremiah Owusu is of Ghanaian descent. He started out as a linebacker at Notre Dam College, where he played for three years. In 2021, Cleveland Browns drafted him as the 52nd pick. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team of the Season. 

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9. Nnamka Samson Ebukam

9 NFL Players From Africa You Should Know
Indianapolis Colts player Nnamka Samson Ebukam. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ebukam was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States at nine. He played high school football at David Douglas in Portland, Oregon. From there, he moved to Eastern Washington University, where the Los Angeles Rams signed him from. 

After three years at the Rams, Nnamka moved to the San Francisco 49ers. In 2023, he joined Indianapolis Colts.

Africa has a lot of talent. The only problem is that it lacks the infrastructure to keep some players on the continent. That said, any player aims to play in the best football league in the world.    

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