ugo amadi

Ugo Amadi delivers backpacks, school supplies to underprivileged Tennessee youth

Ugo Amadi delivers backpacks, school supplies to underprivileged Tennessee youth

Ugo Amadi is giving back to the community that gave so much to him.

In light of the challenges surrounding the upcoming school year due to COVID-19, Amadi, a former Mt. View Elementary student and Overton High School graduate, wants to make things a little easier for students in his hometown of Antioch, Tennessee. 

That’s why he’s partnered with the Metro Schools’ Community Achieves initiative to provide school supplies, backpacks and basic items such as food to 75 students in need. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The Seattle Seahawks safety called giving back to his community a “top priority.” In a video with the local NBC affiliate, Amadi said he could relate to the students who came from humble beginnings. 

“At one point in time, I was them, looking for inspiration, looking for some type of guidance. Now that I’m at where I’m at today, I’m able to give back. Hopefully I want to give the message to these kids that once they’re in the position that I’m at today, do the same for their generation to come.” 

[Listen to the Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and guest, Seahawks safety Ugo Amadi]

This is the second time this month Amadi has given back to the Tennessee community. The 23-year-old recently spent a day at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center and passed out meals to the frontline workers.  

The Nashville native had a successful career at Oregon before being selected by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

[RELATED: How Ugo Amadi inadvertently landed at Oregon because of a wrong phone number]

Amadi played 51 games in four years in a Ducks uniform and helped lead Oregon to a Redbox Bowl victory as a senior. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive back. 

Heading into his second year with Seattle, Amadi is expected to be the team’s starting nickel cornerback. He could also have a key role in returning punts in 2020, taking some of the load off return specialist Tyler Lockett.

[RELATED: Seahawks nickel Ugo Amadi isn’t competing against anyone other than himself]

How Ugo Amadi inadvertently landed at Oregon because of a wrong phone number

How Ugo Amadi inadvertently landed at Oregon because of a wrong phone number

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.

Ugo Amadi reveals his favorite Oregon football uniform swag 

Ugo Amadi reveals his favorite Oregon football uniform swag 

Long before Ugo Amadi stepped on the field at Autzen Stadium decked out in Ducks swag, he knew of Oregon football’s reputation for eccentric, tricked out, statement-maker uniforms, and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on one.

Little did Amadi know, he’d own about 60 Oregon uniforms over his four-year career with the Ducks. 

“It got to a point where I didn’t know which ones were my favorite uniforms because all of them look good. It was so tough,” Amadi told Joe Fann on the latest episode of Talkin’ Seahawks. “And then my senior year, we got to choose our uniforms, what we wanted to wear each weekend because Cristobal let us have fun with it man, it’s just crazy. The uniforms are ridiculous.”

Ridiculous is right. Whether we’re talking about the all-white stormtroopers or the green-on-green slick unis from the 2015 Rose Bowl, Oregon has been at the forefront of innovation while annihilating opponents. 

We discuss The Uniform Craze That Revolutionized College Football in our NBC Sports NW podumentary on the Sports Uncovered podcast feed

Amadi says the Oregon equipment room is a secret spot for hidden treasures. Inside, you can find the black and pink 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness jerseys and other vintage uniforms that players have never returned to claim. 

He wouldn’t leave his favorite combo behind though. Amadi says one highly-touted uniform paired with black winged helmets is his most cherished. 

I like the Jordan and Oregon collab they did with UCLA. I like that collab the most. But we had a lot of good uniforms. Even the Ducks uniform we wore against Colorado my sophomore year, that was really good too. I feel like Oregon likes to be different and that’s what I’m like, I like to be different, I like to standout. -- Ugo Amadi 

While Amadi’s days at Oregon are now in the past, the Seattle Seahawks safety says there’s one stylistic choice he still wears as a nod to his college team, who always strived to be offbeat. 

I always wear the action green gloves just so my family can tell me apart from other people, just look at my gloves. Everybody else wear their white gloves, but I like to wear the action green. -- Ugo Amadi 

Hear more from Amadi on the latest Talkin’ Seahawks podcast as he looks to his second season in Seattle and discusses how he’s adjusted to the unusual NFL offseason and learning from All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. 

Former Ducks standout Ugo Amadi delivers meals to Tennessee healthcare workers

Former Ducks standout Ugo Amadi delivers meals to Tennessee healthcare workers

Ugo Amadi’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee holds a special place in his heart. 

It’s where he grew up, made a name for himself on the John Overton High School football team, and where he found out he would be taking his talents to Oregon over offers from LSU, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Duke, amongst others, as a four-star cornerback. 

It’s also where his sister works today as a part of Tennessee Valley Healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Amadi began to realize the challenges and unrelenting work healthcare workers like his sister face daily. 

To express his appreciation, the Seattle Seahawks safety recently spent a day at the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center and passed out meals to the frontline workers. You can watch the entire video of his visit here

I'm so blessed and fortunate to not only have a platform but to also be able to give back to the community. I want to thank my family, Slim and Husky, AHAUTE cookies for helping give back to the Alvin C York VA hospital. Without them this wouldn't be possible. I was able to feed the frontline workers at the hospital and spread awareness about racial injustice that's at the forefront of our country. I want Healthcare workers to know that they to have a platform and can help make this a better environment for black people. -- Ugo Amadi 

 

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

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I'm so blessed and fortunate to not only have a platform but to also be able to give back to the community. I want to thank my family, Slim and Husky, AHAUTE cookies for helping give back to the Alvin C York VA hospital. Without them this wouldn't be possible. I was able to feed the frontline workers at the hospital and spread awareness about racial injustice that's at the forefront of our country. I want Healthcare workers to know that they to have a platform and can help make this a better environment for black people. I also want to give a special shoutout to @legacyphilanthropy & @annakonsmo they did an amazing job behind the scenes that made this event turn out perfect! If anyone needs assistance with community service or life skills , these are two people I highly recommend! #happyjuneteenth #GoVote 📸 @justin.renfroe

A post shared by ⚡️Ugo Amadi⚡️ (@uamadi7) on

This isn’t the first time the 2018 Lombardi Award winner has participated in community outreach projects. As a member of the Oregon Ducks, Amadi took the lead in organizing a group of teammates to visit a local woman battling cancer. 

The Nashville native had a successful career at Oregon before being selected by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Amadi played 51 games in four years in a Ducks uniform and helped lead Oregon to a Redbox Bowl victory as a senior. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive back. 

Amadi is entering his second year with the Seattle Seahawks and is a strong candidate for the team’s starting nickel corner spot this upcoming season.

[RELATED: Seahawks nickel Ugo Amadi isn’t competing against anyone other than himself]

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann]

Ugo Amadi’s message on racial injustice and equality is poignant and real

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USATI

Ugo Amadi’s message on racial injustice and equality is poignant and real

Ugo Amadi is breaking his silence.

In wake of George Floyd’s death, the Seattle Seahawks nickel expressed his feelings on racism in this country and the ensuing nationwide protests.

Amadi told Alistair Corp of Field Gulls that he’s had the opportunity to speak with many of his teammates regarding ongoing racial injustice, but his message is one that resonates with everyone. 

His full statement below:

It’s a subject you have to talk about among your peers, regardless of your race. We talked about it as a team, it starts off with education, you have to educate yourself. History repeats itself—you have to educate yourself. First, you talk the education, then you talk the racism, then you talk about equality. It doesn’t matter what race you are; it doesn’t matter whether you’re lesbian, straight, bi, it doesn’t matter. It’s about treating people equally. That’s the biggest thing and that’s what we’re not getting right now. People are not seeing that. In this world, God brought people to this world that are good and evil. We’re dealing with good people and evil people. The evil people are overshadowing the good people.

It’s a bad thing we’re going through right now, because we got kids who are going to grow up and be right in the position we are. We need a leader to show the way of how the world is supposed to be, because nobody should be treated better than one another. As an African American, I understand people are looting and stuff like that, but at a certain point, people have to understand what it feels like to have a target on their back, each and every day, no matter the situation. 

The Seahawks were one of the first NFL teams to issue a statement decrying racism and violence against the black community in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody last week.

Floyd died on May 25th after white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Charges were elevated for Chauvin, from third-to-second degree murder on Wednesday. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.  

Amadi isn’t the only Seahawk to speak out about the recent events. Multiple Seahawks including Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf, Duane Brown, Bobby Wagner, and Tyler Lockett addressed Floyd and described how the video of his death impacted them as an African American men living in the United States.

[RELATED: With a heavy heart, Russell Wilson shares poignant thoughts on racism in America]

The team offered their condolences to the families of Floyd, as well as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and announced that players will donate $500k to policy reinforcement, judiciary protections and accountability, and for advanced education related to the history of race in America.

Seahawks nickel Ugo Amadi isn’t competing against anyone other than himself 

Seahawks nickel Ugo Amadi isn’t competing against anyone other than himself 

A lot has changed since Ugo Amadi played his last game with the Oregon Ducks, was drafted in the NFL and suited up in a Seattle Seahawks uniform for a first time.

After taking over as the Seahawks primary nickelback spot in his first season, Amadi is poised to be the leading candidate for the starting nickel corner in 2020. In Seattle's last three games, Amadi played 55 defensive snaps, produced five tackles and nearly returned an interception for six points against Carolina in Week 15.

In an interview with Alistair Corp of Field Gulls, the former Oregon standout reflected on the challenges he faced in his first year and what’s on the horizon for him in year 2. He also sounded off on Pete Carroll’s comments at the NFL Draft that the starting nickel spot is Amadi’s to lose.

It doesn’t change my mentality at all, I’m still going to go in wanting to win my job every day. I feel like my jobs on the line every day. That’s how it was my rookie year, even on special teams. I’m not worried about competing with nobody else, it’s all about the man in the mirror to me. I want the best for myself, so I’m going to make sure I’m on my stuff at all times, make sure I’m mentally prepared, because if I only focus on other people, I can’t get my own job done. That’s not just with ball that’s with anything in life.

I feel like, with those words being said by Pete, he knows, and I know that will be something that makes me sharpen my iron and make me put in the extra work to know this or know that.

This offseason is certainly different than Amadi’s first year in the league. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the offseason program has gone completely virtual with teams taking to Zoom video conferencing to communicate.

Amadi says he’s been doing a lot of independent film sessions and feels for the rookies who are forced to learn in an alternative environment this year. 

Like you said, it’s not like I’m flying blind through it. It’s a good experience, you’re still able to get the work in, coaches ask you questions to make sure you’re focused and locked in, paying attention. But I feel bad for the rookies because defense has certain verbiage and that verbiage is different for every single team. So, they don’t really know until you get that walk-through rep. I feel bad for them. For me, it’s all just memory so it’s another way of learning. It’s a different way of learning but you get something out of it every day—especially with our team.

The 23-year-old mentioned players like Shaquill Griffin, Quandre Diggs and Bradley McDougald, who have taken on leadership roles now that the Legion of Boom has departed. 

Amadi says McDougald in particular has helped mentor and shape him as a versatile defensive back. 

“He helped me out a lot,” Amadi said. “I used to always watch film with him and he was the one that really taught me the little details and how crucial gap fitting is, and taking notes so you can retain the information. His style of play is something that influenced me, being physical at all times because the opponent will bring it to you every snap, so you have to prepare for that mentally and physically.”

If Amadi obtains the slot corner starting spot, he'll join McDougald, Griffin, Diggs and Tre Flowers as presumptive starters on the Seahawks secondary when Seattle kicks off the season this fall. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin' Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and Voice of the Seahawks, broadcaster Steve Raible. 

Former Duck Ugo Amadi 'blossoming,' playing key role in Seahawks playoff run

Former Duck Ugo Amadi 'blossoming,' playing key role in Seahawks playoff run

When the Seattle Seahawks drafted Ugo Amadi in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, they knew one thing to be true: Amadi was rare. 

The Oregon football standout became the first Power 5 player since 2015 to return two interceptions and a punt for a touchdown in the same season. He was also chosen from a pool which included then Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, as the recipient of the prestigious Lombardi Award.

Amadi’s versatility as a Duck also took center stage: He started 13 games at safety in 2018, moved from cornerback to safety in 2017 and became Oregon’s primary punt returner during his senior year.

Now, a year removed from his collegiate career at Oregon, Amadi is taking his game to new heights with Seattle, where he’s earned his place at nickel cornerback. 

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wishes he would have turned to the rookie sooner.

“He’s doing a good job,” Carroll said of Amadi on Wednesday. “I’m really glad we made the commitment a few weeks back to get him in there to allow him to grow. I wish we would’ve done it a little bit earlier. We would’ve seen him develop faster because he’s really kind of blossoming.”

It hasn’t come easy for the 22-year-old out of Nashville, Tenn.

Amadi battled for the team’s starting nickelback position in training camp, but Seattle opted to go with veteran Jamar Taylor instead. Taylor, however, was released in Week 10 and Akeem King moved into that role until Week 15 against the Panthers. He’s since played 72 snaps in the slot over the past four games.

It took 15 weeks for Amadi to carve out his niche in the Seahawks defense, but it appears he has finally found it at nickel. So, what’s next for Amadi?

Despite seeing only 17 defensive snaps at nickel in Seattle’s Wild Card victory over the Eagles, his role could continue to flourish this Sunday when the Seahawks travel to icy Green Bay to take on the Packers.

Carroll holds Amadi in high regard and ultimately believes he has the instincts necessary to make an impact. 

“He understands the position well,” Carroll said. “He understands the disguises of it. There’s a lot of intricacies in the nickel spot. He’s a really bright kid and he’s handling it really well. He’s in a good place to make plays.”

Ugo Amadi admires Coach Cristobal's achievements at alma mater

Ugo Amadi admires Coach Cristobal's achievements at alma mater

He had quite the career in Oregon’s secondary. His hard work, leadership and high football I.Q. earned him the Lombardi Trophy his senior season. He was selected in the fourth-round (No. 132 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Now, Ugo Amadi is reflecting on his time with the Oregon Ducks as they inch closer to a berth in the College Football playoff.

[RELATED]: It appears to be Ugo Amadi time for the Seahawks

“It’s just crazy how all that works man. I don’t think they’ll [the CFP committee] put a Pac-12 team in but I feel like they [Oregon] deserves a shot. Especially with what the scores been looking like and the teams they’ve been playing.”

Will Oregon pass the CFP committee’s eye test? Hypothetically, if Oregon can defeat Utah in the Pac-12 title game, will that be enough to pass up a potential one-loss Big 12 team in Oklahoma or a one-loss, no SEC champion team in Alabama?

Regardless, Amadi has high praise for Cristobal in just his second year as Oregon head coach.

“I wish them nothing but the best. Coach Cristobal has done great there in his second year. You only lose one game? That’s saying a lot.”

The future is in good hands with Cristobal. After former head coach Willie Taggart left the program in 2017 for his “dream job” at Florida State, the players created a petition for Cristobal (the former offensive line coach at the time) to be promoted to head coach. 

It worked and it’s paying off for the No. 6 Ducks who have a chance at a College Football Playoff this season.

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Seattle Seahawks' Ugo Amadi feeling confident Ducks will top Pac-12 this season

Seattle Seahawks' Ugo Amadi feeling confident Ducks will top Pac-12 this season

Former Oregon Ducks standout Ugo Amadi has emerged as one of the brightest stars from the 2019 draft class. The Seattle Seahawks rookie has dazzled this preseason, defending the pass and the run, returning punts, and blitzing and covering as a defensive back. 

While Saturday is a big day for Amadi because of the Seahawks impending 53-man roster cuts, it is also the first day his former team will step on the field for the 2019 college football season.

We caught up with Amadi ahead of Oregon's intriguing matchup with Auburn in Week 1. He shared his thoughts on Justin Herbert, the possible first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, as well as the Ducks players he thinks you should keep your eyes on this season. Take a look: 

Ugo's predictions for Oregon this season: 

“I expect them to do well. I expect nothing but the best for my guys...We have everything that’s needed to win the Pac-12."

On who talks the most trash about college football in the Seahawks locker room:

"Me. Because I went to Oregon. We’re the only team in the locker room that’s been to a National Championship so nobody else can argue with that."

His opinion on Justin Herbert, now that he’s been around elite NFL quarterbacks: 

"He definitely has what it takes. He’s smart, he loves the game—that’s important. He has what it takes."

On who is the most underrated Duck on the defense and offense: 

“I think Fat Mac [Jordon Scott] on d-line. I think they sleepin’ on him. On offense, I’d say probably Dallas Warmack. Those guys are both very competitive and when you look on tape, they’re really getting after guys on every snap.”

On how he would compare Oregon’s strength/conditioning to NFL’s?

“They’re both different because at this level it’s all about longevity. In college, it’s all about you got to be fit for your conference. You know, SEC, you got to get big—that’s what strength and conditioning coaches are meant to do. Pac-12 it’s all about speed. You’re doing a lot of plyometric stuff and all that, so there’s two big different stages when it comes to lifting.”'

On if he thinks the Ducks will lose by 7 to the Huskies this year: 

“Y’all are living in a fantasy world up here. You gotta understand Washington lost to Oregon 17 years in a row.”

On whether he thinks the Ducks could win a National Championship this year:

“Look, I’m not there so I just know their going to win the Pac-12. We can’t just hop over hurdles. We got to initiate one thing—that’s knock out the Pac-12. After that, everything will flow with the flow with the flow.”

Former Oregon standout Ugo Amadi brings explosiveness, versatility to Seahawks

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USA Today Images

Former Oregon standout Ugo Amadi brings explosiveness, versatility to Seahawks

Ugo Amadi is used to making explosive plays. 

At Oregon, Amadi showcased his quickness and versatility, whether it was returning a 56-yard punt and taking it to the house against UCLA or stunning Cal with two interceptions for Pac-12 defensive player of the week honors. 

Now with the Seattle Seahawks, nothing has changed for Amadi. 

In the team’s first practice with pads on Monday, the rookie intercepted an errant pass from Paxton Lynch to Chris Carson for a pick-six during the red zone team period.

“I feel like I’m really advanced at where I’m at right now,” Amadi said on Tuesday. “I’m always in the playbook, I’m always talking to Bobby (Wagner) about certain defenses, I’m always talking to the personal assistants that we have, making sure they keep me in the loop as well. So I’m just trying to stay ahead and be available at all times.”

Amadi’s versatility and knack for making splash plays is what made him an attractive pick for Seattle in the 2019 NFL Draft. At Oregon, Amadi played nearly every spot in the secondary and also left his mark on special teams as a punt returner.

The well-rounded fourth-round pick has worked primarily at free safety and nickel with Seattle, and he says he’s feeling comfortable playing either position. 

“It’s just all about knowing the gap fits on runs because that’s very key in this defense as well, and making sure that I know the little adjustments,” Amadi said. “I’m going to be in there with the vets so I have to talk like a linebacker and as a DB at the same time, so just knowing both.”

There's just over a week until Seattle’s preseason opener on Aug. 8. Amadi, as well as the rest of the team's rookies, figures to play a prominent role in what will be his first taste of game action at CenturyLink Field.