Boston Herald: A Player To Emil-ate - UMass Athletics

Boston Herald: A Player To Emil-ate

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The Boston Herald has a nice feature on UMass junior captain Email Igwenagu. Check out John Connolly's story.

Some players are men for all seasons. UMass co-captain Emil Igwenagu can best be described as a man for all positions. In three-plus seasons (including his redshirt year) with the Minutemen, the 21-year-old junior has played fullback and linebacker, served on scout teams, been a special teams performer, and finally found a home at tight end.

"I don't really have a favorite. I like what I'm doing now," said Igwenagu, who will be in action today (3:30 p.m.) when No. 8 UMass (4-1) hosts No. 20 Richmond (2-3) on Homecoming. "(My versatility) helps me out. It's true. As a tight end, I feel I can do a little bit of everything. I'm not strictly a blocking tight end and I'm not strictly a receiving tight end. I do a little bit of both.

A player to Emil-ate
UMass TE versatile
By John Connolly  |   Saturday, October 16, 2010  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  College Football
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Some players are men for all seasons. UMass co-captain Emil Igwenagu can best be described as a man for all positions.

In three-plus seasons (including his redshirt year) with the Minutemen, the 21-year-old junior has played fullback and linebacker, served on scout teams, been a special teams performer, and finally found a home at tight end.

"I don't really have a favorite. I like what I'm doing now," said Igwenagu, who will be in action today (3:30 p.m.) when No. 8 UMass (4-1) hosts No. 20 Richmond (2-3) on Homecoming. "(My versatility) helps me out. It's true. As a tight end, I feel I can do a little bit of everything. I'm not strictly a blocking tight end and I'm not strictly a receiving tight end. I do a little bit of both.

"Doing different positions helps me out a lot because you have to relearn the system. Once you learn, it helps you, and it's definitely for the good. Playing tight end, you have to be able to do everything. So it shows what kind of skills you have."

Igwenagu, who is majoring in kinesiology, has played in 4-of-5 games, missing one due to an unspecified injury. He has caught seven passes for 89 yards (12.7 average).

"He's smart and he understands concepts, which makes his versatility all the worthwhile, so he can do all those things," UMass coach Kevin Morris said. "He was a tailback in a Wing-T type offense, who was big and athletic. (Offensive coordinator) Brian Picucci liked him, so we brought him in as a fullback and linebacker and then looked to find a home for him, and because of his IQ and ability we can move him around."

Morris feels Igwenagu's adaptability bodes well for his future NFL chances.

"Sure, because he has all that versatility, which all the teams like, and he runs well enough. That's what the NFL wants, if you can run well enough," Morris said. "He's a junior captain for us, and that speaks volumes of what his peers think of him. Certainly, he's a leader on the team. He's not a rah-rah guy . . . He goes about his business on and off the field, and he's also a very talented football player."

Igwenagu was born in Raleigh, N.C., and moved to the Worcester area at 4. In high school, he helped Holy Name win a pair of Division 2 Super Bowl titles, earning MVP honors in both.

Along the way, Igwenagu produced staggering numbers, gaining 5,037 rushing yards, 54 touchdowns and 372 total points. On defense he made 290 tackles with 12 interceptions.

Igwenagu found UMass to be the right fit.

"I wanted to stay somewhere close to home," he said. "When I came on my visit I just liked the coaching staff and also, the year I came in as a recruit was right after they lost in the national championship. It convinced me this was the right place for me.

"I think I just like the way everybody handles everything together (on this team). There's not a lot of individuals or me-first on this team. . . . Everyone does what they have to do."

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