Finishing his career at Sam Houston State with a National Championship appearance, former defensive end Ezekwesiri “E.J.” Nduka has moved north to join the Canadian Football League as the newest member of the Toronto Argonauts.
Signed Feb. 21, Nduka was picked up by the professional Canadian team after three starts on the Texas Revolution, Dallas’s indoor football team, and showcasing his talents at last year’s NFL combine in Detroit.
Nduka said although his agent was contacted by the Green Bay Packers, the Argonauts proved more interested.
“The only organization that showed their hand in terms of a contract was Toronto,” Nduka said.
The versatile defensive end/linebacker entered the Indoor Football League (IFL) midway through the season after graduating from SHSU in 2011. Despite being with the Revolution for a month, Nduka surprised coaches accumulating 15 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble as well as a fumble recovery.
“It was my first time playing in the [IFL] and it surprised a lot of the coaches how I learned the game and came off the ball,” Nduka said. “It did help to get Canada’s attention at the combine I went [to]. They asked me to come in to work out and lay eyes on me as well.”
From his experience as a Bearkat, Nduka said being a part of a championship team helped him compete for recognition in the NFL combine and in the eyes of the Argonauts.
“It was really exciting to be a part of a team that went to a national championship,” Nduka said. “The work ethic and just the drive and the challenge to compete [helped.]”
As for adjusting from the IFL to CFL, Nduka is excited to be outdoors again.
“Moving to indoor to Canadian is that I’m glad to get back outside. It’s a much bigger field which allows me to pass rush which suits me,” Nduka said.
Compared to a NFL regulation size field that measures 120 yards in length (including end zones) and 53.3 yards in width, CFL fields measure at 110 yards in length and 65 yards in width with end zones that are 10 yards deeper than NFL. When coming off IFL, Nduka played on 50X25 yard fields with the Revolution in IFL.
“The biggest adjustment is the size of the field and the pace of the game,” Nduka said. “The indoor game is much faster because there are much fewer people. Just getting sacks you really got to get off the line and get to the ball.”
In the CFL, 12 players are on the field from both sides of the ball, where NFL permits 11 and IFL allows eight.
Currently Nduka resides in Dallas but will move to Toronto in the next few of weeks for the Argonauts mini training camp with the official training camp starting in May.
The Argonauts 2013 season opener will kick off June 12 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.