University of Miami

N’Kosi Perry and UM freshmen arrive as senior Sunny Odogwu departs

Miami Hurricanes offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu is leaving the Miami football program to pursue more playing time elsewhere, per UM coach Mark Richt.
Miami Hurricanes offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu is leaving the Miami football program to pursue more playing time elsewhere, per UM coach Mark Richt. mhalper@miamiherald.com

On a day when the newest University of Miami football players – including heralded prep quarterback N’Kosi Perry – began their college careers with the opening of summer classes, the program announced that one of the most well-loved Hurricanes was leaving to pursue more playing time elsewhere.

Right offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu – 6-8 and 325 pounds – is transferring.

“Sunny and I had a good conversation, and he informed me that he feels his best opportunity to get the most playing time would be at another school,’’ UM football coach Mark Richt said in a written release. “Sunny has been a great teammate and leader for this program, and we will miss him.’’

Odogwu, a redshirt senior from Nigeria, earned his bachelor’s degree in human resources management and qualifies as a graduate transfer, meaning that he can play immediately at whatever school he chooses. He is working toward a master’s degree in international administration.

Odogwu started 14 games during his UM career.

“I have enjoyed my four years at the University of Miami,’’ Odogwu said. “I look forward to continuing my career elsewhere, but I will always cherish the relationships I’ve built with my teammates, coaches and professors here at the U.”

Odogwu, warm and upbeat, was rarely seen without a huge smile. But he had his share of physical obstacles while at Miami, as he underwent major surgery on his right knee immediately after the 2015 regular season and then broke his lower leg against Florida State last Oct. 8. He missed the rest of the season, and was still recuperating during spring practice.

Odogwu, who said he “never slept on a bed” – sharing a “10-by-10’’ sleeping space with three brothers, three sisters and four other family members in his village of Ezeagu – came to the United States after his father died in 2009. He had shown substantial improvement before breaking his leg.

UM signed a strong offensive line class, with 6-6, 350-pound Navaughn Donaldson, an All-American out of Miami Central High, earning a first-team right guard spot during spring practice. Another early enrollee, 6-6, 300-pound Zach Dykstra, was playing second-team left guard at the end of spring.

On Monday, UM’s other three new offensive linemen were announced on campus: 6-5, 285-pound Kai-Leon Herbert, 6-4, 285-pound Corey Gaynor and 6-6, 287-pound Zalon’tae Hillery.

Senior Kc McDermott ended spring as the entrenched left tackle, with senior Trevor Darling at left guard, junior Tyler Gauthier at center and junior Tyree St. Louis at right tackle. Darling is a lineman who Richt said still needed to prove himself.

UM also has veteran center Nick Linder, who missed spring after undergoing shoulder surgery, and is expected back for fall camp; and 6-7, 300-pound LSU transfer George Brown, who ended spring at backup left tackle.

The other Canes announced by UM as having arrived for Summer Session A: cornerback Trajan Bandy, junior cornerback transfer Jhavonte Dean, redshirt-senior cornerback transfer Dee Delaney, walk-on receiver Marshall Few, offensive lineman Corey Gaynor, receiver, Mike Harley, safety Derrick Smith and receiver Jeff Thomas.

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