MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Sit down and talk to Dozie Ezemma for a few minutes and it seems as if almost every question elicits the same type of response.
"You know,'' he'll say, "that's actually a funny story.''
There's the one about how his college choices were based on school colors. If they weren't blue and gold, well, see ya.
There are his earliest recollections of West Virginia, which - once he discovered it wasn't in the western part of Virginia - were "hot and hilly.''
There's the walk-on tryout he missed and the highlight tape he and his brother put together to make up for it.
And that's not even to mention his complete and utter lack of interest in keeping track of college football. For instance, he says the only thing he knew about WVU was Pat White. Yet he truly believed that Pat White played for - wait for it - Michigan.
It takes a while to sort them all out, but eventually all those stories have combined to lead Chidoziem Ezemma - Dozie for short - to where he is right now, which is the early leader in the race to become West Virginia's starter at the Buck position, a hybrid linebacker/end in the Mountaineer defense.
If you're not familiar with Ezemma, you're not alone. He arrived in Morgantown late in the summer of 2011 and essentially begged for a chance to join the football team. He did manage to emerge a year ago as a special-teams player who got a few shots at playing defense, but in 12 games he had just five tackles.
Still, he's not only managed to earn a scholarship, but he could be a key part of a defense that needs a few new parts after last season's disaster.
"Yeah, it is kind of amazing, isn't it?'' Ezemma said. "Coming here out of nowhere as a walk-on to a full scholarship and [a chance to] start? It's a [great] world, right?''
So how did Ezemma, a son of Nigerian immigrants who grew up in Rockland County, N.Y., just north of New York City, wind up here? Well, the full tale would be rather complex, so here is the Reader's Digest version.
As a 177-pound senior at Pomona High School, he drew some faint interest from Syracuse and Connecticut, but not nearly enough to warrant a scholarship. He looked into Temple and "they wanted nothing to do with me.'' So it pretty much came down to New Haven, a Division II school that offered him a partial scholarship.
He played there for two years as a defensive end, but he didn't even start. A lack of playing time, though, was secondary to his real issue.
"My main reason for leaving was because I couldn't afford it,'' he said. "It wasn't like I knew where I was going or that I wanted to play Division I. My family just couldn't afford it anymore.''
So he went back home in the summer of 2011, where his mother worried what he would do with himself. Ezemma told her, "Don't worry. God's got me.''
He worked three jobs - including Toys R Us and Babies R Us - and wanted to send out emails to prospective schools. By this time he was up to 200 pounds and, despite not even starting at New Haven, was convinced he was a Division I athlete.
The trouble is, he really didn't know where to start in his search. He'd never so much as sat down and watched a full college football game on TV in a home where the sport was alien.
"If anything, they were watching soccer on TV,'' Ezemma said. "I just couldn't watch it. I liked football. I liked playing football. But I couldn't watch it. I still don't that much. I can't even play Madden [video football]. Give me Mortal Kombat or something.''
Eventually, though, he was at least steered into a direction. He had no idea if it was the right direction, but it was the only one he had.
"This is going to sound crazy, but a girl that I know - I actually call her my little sister - she said she had a dream that I was playing in blue and gold,'' Ezemma said. "So because of that I applied to all blue and gold schools.''