So Ezemma looked around and sent a handful of emails to blue and gold schools. Those that showed any interest at all, he applied for admission. He wound up applying to West Virginia, Kent State and Pitt.
"If they showed interest, I applied,'' Ezemma said.
He was accepted as a student at West Virginia and Kent State. Pitt was scratched when he was denied.
But how to choose?
"I never watched college football on TV, so I didn't know anything about West Virginia,'' Ezemma said. "The most I knew about West Virginia was Pat White. And I actually thought Pat White played for Michigan or something because all I saw was the colors.''
Now understand, too, that when Ezemma said both West Virginia and Kent State had replied to his initial emails, that's pretty much all they'd done. At WVU, recruiting coordinator Ryan Dorchester had responded that he would be welcome to try out if he came to school here. Then again, anyone who is enrolled is allowed to try out. By now it is August of 2011 and the start of school in nearing.
Then fate stepped in again.
"The week before school starts, I still don't know what I'm going to do, Kent State or West Virginia. I don't even know which one is better football-wise,'' Ezemma said. "So I'm out buying a birthday gift for the leader of my church and I meet somebody going to West Virginia to walk on [Kelvin Owusu, who has since moved on]. And I thought, 'All right, there's my answer. I'll go to West Virginia.' ''
Again, really? Then all he had to do was find out where it was.
"I had no idea what West Virginia was. I thought it was western Virginia,'' Ezemma said. "When you're in New York, there's nothing else. I can promise you, the majority of people in New York don't even know West Virginia is a state. I didn't know West Virginia was a state. We learned it in school, but nobody ever talks about it or pays attention to it unless you watch college football.''
And, of course, Ezemma never watched college football.
That's not the end, though. By the time Ezemma made his decision, school was ready to start. Remember, Dorchester invited him to come to school, but with no guarantees. He would still have to go through those walk-on tryouts that are held for the student body just after classes begin each year.
But because he was so late, the paperwork for his financial aid wasn't ready. He arrived late and missed the walk-on tryouts as a result, and was at first told he would simply have to wait until next year.
"So I called up Coach Dorchester and said, 'What if I send you a highlight tape of my high school to college career? Would that be all right?' '' Ezemma said. "He said it would, so that night me and my brother made a highlight tape with three game tapes. I had two college tapes and one high school tape and maybe an all-star game. I made a little highlight tape and sent it to him.
"He looked at it and liked it, I guess, so he told me to come to school and they'd see what they could do. They saw me, liked my size, worked my class schedule out and I was on the team.''
By that time, the 177-pound high school kid had grown to 198 pounds. A year on the scout team and he was up to 220 pounds by 2012 and he started to get on the field. Now he's 230 pounds with an eye on 240, and as West Virginia goes through its final two weeks of spring drills, he's running with the No. 1 defense at Buck.
Oh, and he's also on track to graduate with a degree in chemistry next May and, believe it or not, has his eye on playing beyond this season, which is his senior year.
"If I was going to play college football, I was going to try to go all the way,'' Ezemma said. "Otherwise, it's a waste of time for me. I'd rather be in school just for academics if I wasn't going to try to go all the way.''
That might sound preposterous, but is it any more so than his journey so far?
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.