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Uchenna Nwosu Comes Full Circle with the Bolts

When Uchenna Nwosu was in high school, never did the thought of playing for the same NFL team one of his coaches played for cross his mind.

But that all changed last Friday when the linebacker got a call from the Bolts; the same team which former tight end and current Narbonne High School offensive coordinator, Brandon Manumaleuna, played for from 2006-2009.

"Brandon's a great guy," Nwosu said.  "He's somebody who's lived through it, but at the highest levels.  So any information, any experience I can get from him is very great.  He played for the Chargers, and it's a great experience and he's a great teacher."

"When I retired, I went to (school) to coach JV football just to keep busy," Manumaleuna said.  "I started to get into it.  Once I realized my pro career was over, I just went full-fledged with the kids.  I coached JV at first because it wasn't as serious, and Uchenna happened to be one of my JV players."

If you're thinking it's odd that a former tight end who now serves as a high school OC coached the dynamic linebacker who was the second-round pick of the Bolts, think again.

Nwosu actually started his high school football career on the other side of the ball – until an unfortunate event changed his fate forever.

"He actually was a wide receiver," his former coach said.  "Then, he dropped a ball in a big game.  It tipped off his hands and (went for an) interception.  So he (switched to) backup linebacker and then started his senior year."

Nwosu recounted the incident with a laugh.

"What happened was, we were playing Mater Dei and it was my junior year and a very big game," he explained.  "It was a tight, close game but the ball went right through my hands, the defender caught it and Mater Dei almost took it back.  But after that, I didn't play receiver anymore!  I switched to defense and it worked out.  I'm pretty cool with it."

The gaffe forever changed Nwosu's career.  But despite it and despite being someone who didn't even start playing football until his sophomore year at Narbonne, Manumaleuna knew he was special.

"Uchenna was raw; he had only been playing football for about two years.  He was really raw, but athletic and he had a great work ethic.  He was a basketball player who came over to play football and always had the frame to be as big as he is now."

Due to the fact that he started the game late, Nwosu credits guys like Manumaleuna for helping shape his career through the rest of high school and college to get him to this point.

"Being around the guys who played football and just talking to them, that was the closest thing I had to football because I didn't watch it growing up," Nwosu said.   "So having guys like that in the locker room while sharing experiences and gaining knowledge from them was cool."

While he watched him grow from a Gaucho to Trojan, one thing's clear, Manumaleuna will be keeping an eye on his former player as he embarks on his Chargers career.

"He's another guy to make it to the league and I'm just so proud of him.  I'm so proud as a coach."

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