National Signing Day is the culmination of four years of hard work, dedication and success for high school athletes across the country. And there’s no denying the work and dedication that Leslie Adindu has shown since he arrived in the United States in 2019.
Adindu signed to play football at Division II Southwest Baptist on Wednesday despite not playing a varsity football game at Arlington Heights (Texas) High School and living in a homeless shelter during his senior year of high school.
— SBU Football (@SBU_Football) February 3, 2021
Why Adindu had to work nights
Adindu’s story was the focus of a phenomenal feature in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football this week. He moved from Nigeria to the Dallas area with his father in 2019. But Adindu was left without a place to live for his senior year of high school after his dad moved to New Orleans in what the story termed was a family dispute.
Adindu moved into a homeless shelter. But since he was 19 — a year older than most high school seniors — he was considered an adult and was required to have a job to live there.
[Arlington Heights coach Phil] Young found out that because Adindu was a legal adult at 19 years old, he had to hold a job to keep his place in the shelter. When Young heard Adindu’s work schedule was 3-7, his heart sank because he thought it would conflict with school and practice time.
“Leslie said three to seven and I thought, ‘Oh man you can’t make practice.’ But he quickly corrected me and said, ‘No Coach, 3-7 a.m. I work and then I’ll come to school.’”
Adindu couldn’t play football in 2020
Adindu had never played football until he arrived in the United States. He spent the 2019 season playing JV football for Arlington Heights and was going to play varsity in 2020 — especially after he gained nearly 100 pounds.
But his age came into play again. At 19, he was ineligible to play in Texas and didn’t get a waiver. That meant that his coaches had to advertise his excellence to schools across the country through practice and scrimmage tape.
That tape was good enough to catch the eye of Southwest Baptist’s coaches, who offered him a scholarship on his visit to Bolivar, Missouri. And on Wednesday, he became one of 28 high school players and one of 12 players from Texas to sign with the school. According to SBU, Adindu will major in business while he plays football.
"These young men aren't just great football players, but all are men of God and men of character that will be leaders on our campus and in our community,” Southwest Baptist coach Robert Clardy said in a Wednesday release. “This class has been fully vetted by our staff and are going to have a remarkable impact on our program and university."
More from Yahoo Sports: