BISMARCK, N.D. - Bartholomew Ogbu may be the first Bison in-state football commit for 2018, but just over two years ago, the Shiloh Christian senior not only had never seen a football field, he never stepped foot in this hemisphere.
Football; foreign concept to Bartholomew Ogbu just two years ago picks NDSU.
Host father Brad Miller said: "At the beginning, when he first started playing, he didn't have a clue what he was doing."
Friday, he's a verbal commit to North Dakota State.
"Everyone is about working hard. The culture there, at NDSU, is what attracted my attention and just fell in love with that program, and I just decided to be a Bison," said Ogbu.
Seeking an American education, Ogbu left his native Nigeria, and his family behind, when he was just 16. He began school at Shiloh Christian where he stayed with superintenant Morgan Forness. Once Forness moved away, his basketball coach, Brad Miller, became his host father.
"He actually asked me if he could live with me, and I told him he could. And I called my wife and said, hope you're not mad at me, but we've just taken in another boy. But she was good about it," said Miller.
"They are kind of my American parents. I listen to them, I take their advice. They are great people, and I'm glad they opened their home for me to come and live with them," said Ogbu.
Miller convinced Ogbu to give football a shot. He had only seen one football game in his life, before he played.
MIller said:"As I was giving him a ride there, I asked him, I said 'are you going to get to start today?' He said, 'Yeah, I think so, coach.'"
Ogbu: "He actually asked me.Where are you playing? Are you offense or defense?
Miller: "And he kind of gave me a blank stare like:"
Ogbu: "I have no idea."
Miller: "I said, do you know what you're supposed to do? Uhh, not really. I said, okay, for the first game.."
Ogbu: "I just chased the guy around to get the guy with the football."
Miller: "You'll figure the rest out along the way."
"And while Miller's advice got him through that first game, it was coach Funnon Barker and the Shiloh staff, that molded Bartholomew into a talent, worthy of the Bison."
"They poured a lot into Bartholomew last fall, as he was a varsity player for the first time, and worked with him on both offense and defense. You could see the improvement as the year went on," said Miller.
Two years ago, Ogbu knew nothing of American football. Fortunately, he was herded in the right direction.
He also had offers from UND, South Dakota State, Wyoming, Liberty and Northern Iowa, before choosing the Bison.