Former AJC Super 11 linebacker Ukeme Eligwe is headed to Georgia Southern to finish his college football career.
Eligwe was also interested in playing at UGA and Samford, among other schools. The former Stone Mountain High School standout was dismissed from Florida State last season for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
“It was looking like it might be UGA, because it’s so close to home,” his former coach at Stone Mountain, Jatavis Sanders, told the AJC. “But summer school started this week at Georgia Southern, and he felt like he needed to make a decision. He felt like he couldn’t wait any longer to see if things were going to work out with UGA.
“He was just so impressed with Georgia Southern. He likes it there, and he didn’t want to miss out on that opportunity if things fell through with UGA.”
Eligwe, who signed with FSU over UGA in 2012, was spotted on the Bulldogs’ campus earlier this month when he accompanied Arabia Mountain High School’s football team to a 7-on-7 tournament. Sanders is an assistant at Arabia Mountain.
In 2013, Eligwe played in a reserve role for then-FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who now works in the same capacity for UGA. It was unknown what type of interest the Bulldogs had in Eligwe this time around.
At Georgia Southern, Eligwe will have one or two seasons of eligibility, depending on if he both applies for and is successfully granted a medical hardship after missing most of last season with an injury.
“I’m happy for him,” Sanders said. “I’ve been coaching (Eligwe) since the seventh grade and I’m one of his mentors. The kid has grown. He works hard. I know his true intentions. He’s a true football player. He loves people. He’s a father now, so he loves his son. I’m happy for him. I’m happy he’s back in school.
“I’m happy that somebody is giving him … I wouldn’t call it a second chance. I’m not going to get into all of that. But I think he did a great job at Florida State. And I think that if he didn’t hurt, he would’ve been one of the top linebackers heading into the NFL Draft this year. That’s just my opinion. The kid misses football, and that team environment. I think he landed in a good spot. Georgia Southern is going to win some football games, and they’ve got some great coaches down there. It’s a good fit.”