Anchorage's Edefuan Ulofoshio lands with the Buffalo Bills in 5th round of the 2024 NFL Draft

Apr. 27—After having to walk on to the University of Washington football team and overcoming other challenges on his way to becoming a prominent player and stalwart leader, Edefuan Ulofoshio of Anchorage will get a chance to compete at the highest level of the sport.

The 24-year-old inside linebacker officially became the latest Alaskan to join an NFL team after he was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 160th overall pick in the fifth round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday.

Ulofoshio was born and raised in Anchorage and is joining an elite club of former standouts from Alaska who made it to the league, including Anchorage's Tyree Wilson and Brandon Pili as well as Palmer's Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu. All three of them joined the league last year, with Wilson being taken No. 7 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders, Aumavae-Laulu in the sixth round by the Baltimore Ravens, and Pili making the Miami Dolphins' final roster as an undrafted free agent.

[Prevously: 3 NFL rookies with Alaska roots are living their dreams and proud of where they come from]

The son of Nigerian immigrants, Ulofoshio was born and raised in Anchorage, where he first discovered his love for the sport of football and began dreaming of making it to the NFL one day — a rare feat coming from Alaska, given the lack of exposure to college coaches and elite competition. He remained determined to make his dream come true throughout high school, which prompted him to leave South High and follow his mom out of state as she pursued her psychology practicum.

Ulofoshio attended prep powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School, and from there he developed a willingness to earn his stripes and battle his way up the depth chart. After being a preferred walk-on at Washington, he put in the work and grinded his way to a starting spot.

Last season was the best of his career: He recorded career-high stats across the board, was named to the Associated Press' All-America Third Team and the All-Pac-12 First Team, and was a Butkus Award Finalist for the nation's top linebacker. He played a key role in helping the Huskies' defense thrive all year during the team's run to the NCAA FBS national championship game, where they ultimately fell to Michigan.

[Previous coverage: Edefuan Ulofoshio is poised to be the next Alaskan in the NFL]

Throughout the pre-draft process, Ulofoshio continued to raise his draft stock by standing out and catching the eye of NFL scouts and national talent evaluators. He started off with a strong showing at the 2024 Reese's Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama, against some of the top upperclassmen talent in the country. He followed that up with an impressive outing at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, where he showed that he's one of the most athletic linebackers in this year's class.

In Buffalo, Ulofoshio will be joining a linebacker roster that includes 2022 First-Team All-Pro selection Matt Milano, one of several players at the position coming off injury, so Ulofoshio will likely have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do throughout the offseason program, training camp and the preseason. His clearest pathway to playing time early on his career will likely come via special teams, which is an aspect of the game he has a lot of experience in and takes tremendous pride in being part of.

"Special teams is my middle name," Ulofoshio told the Daily News in February. "I wouldn't have played at (Washington) if I wasn't good at special teams. It's super huge and I've been fortunate enough to play for a program that really prioritizes special teams."