Ugo Amadi didn’t always know he wanted to go to Oregon.
In fact, the John Overton High School in Nashville, Tennessee standout, who initially committed to Ole Miss, had a roundabout way of landing in Eugene, Oregon.
On the Talkin’ Seahawks podcast with host Joe Fann, the now Seattle Seahawks safety explained in great detail how he unexpectedly ended up in an Oregon uniform.
That was a very, very stressful moment in my life. That’s where I hit adversity. A lot of stuff went down. I was committed to Ole Miss and then I was supposed to graduate early, and enroll early at Ole Miss. But when I had graduated high school, which was in December 2014, they didn’t want me to come in early. So I’m already at home, not doing anything but working out because I’m not in school anymore. They’re like we don’t want you to come in early, I’m like nah—I don’t want to sit at home in January and wait until June to enroll. I was like it’s alright and I just decommitted from there. -- Ugo Amadi
Not even days after Amadi decommitted at Ole Miss, LSU head coach Les Miles and former defensive coordinator John Chavis showed up at his hometown in a suit and tie. They wanted Amadi to become a Tiger.
“Later on that day, they came to my house,” Amadi recalled. “They talked to my parents, they’re all like “Yeah, you want to come and be a Tiger?’ They said you can play special teams, defense for us, all that stuff. And then some days go by and I ended up committing to LSU, the day of the Music City Bowl, the day they played Notre Dame in 2015.”
But the story doesn’t end there. Amadi found out following the game that Coach Chavis was leaving and after a few days of getting his voicemail, Chavis slid into his DMs with a scholarship offer to Texas A&M.
At only 17, Amadi was faced with a difficult decision. Follow Coach Chavis to Texas A&M or explore other options. He chose the latter…and here’s where the curveball comes in.
While working out one day, Amadi’s trainer said he knew Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh’s assistant. He asked the four-star cornerback if he wanted him to reach out and a text was sent.
The text, however, didn’t go to Harbaugh’s assistant, but instead John Neal, Oregon’s defensive backs coach.
He said for some reason, it’s Coach Neal at Oregon, and then Coach Neal DMs me, gives me his number—this is when they’re getting ready for the Rose Bowl... After the Rose Bowl, they ended up offering me a scholarship and their media guy sent me a Twitter video of what University of Oregon looks like and it was like a 360 kind of video, you can move your phone and see the whole stadium. It was crazy. And then they sent me my initial letter of intent and then I signed at Oregon. I didn’t take a visit or anything, it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise. -- Ugo Amadi
Blessing in disguise is a perfect way to put it, but Amadi arriving at Oregon is no coincidence.
In his illustrious four-year career in a Ducks uniform, Amadi was a five-time game captain and shared Oregon’s 2018 team MVP award with Justin Herbert. Over his final two seasons, Amadi amassed six interceptions, highlighted by three pick-6s, and forced four fumbles.
He took home the Lombardi Award his senior year, an honor given annually to the best college football player regardless of position, based on performance, leadership, character and resiliency.
We catch up with Amadi on the latest Talkin’ Seahawks about his first year as a pro, how he’s preparing for competition this offseason and his favorite Oregon uniform combo. You can listen to the full podcast with Amadi here.