Through six seasons of UTSA Roadrunners football few players have left an impact on the program like former defensive back Michael Egwuagu has. A four-year starter and all-conference selection, Egwuagu has helped define the culture of UTSA football through his exceptional performance on the field as well as his vibrant leadership off of it. While Egwuagu’s presence in the program will be sorely missed, he certainly has big things ahead of him. Egwuagu took time out of his arduous training and final semester coursework to catch us up on his draft preparation and recollect on his outstanding UTSA career.
Underdog Dynasty: After enjoying an illustrious and highly successful collegiate career that took you across the country and allowed you to showcase your talent on some of the biggest stages in the sport is there a specific moment that you look back on with the most pride and reverence?
Michael Egwuagu: [Laughs] Man there are honestly so many moments throughout my career at UTSA that I can look back on and just really take pride in. But for whatever reason, the moment that stands out the most was that game against UTEP where Nate [Gaines] and I scored on that lateral play. I remember that game being very close and a tough one at that. UTEP is always a very physical team when we play them, but when you add on that horrible weather and the 50 rain delays that we had that evening, it becomes a different monster. I was just so excited that Nate's interception and my two touchdowns were able to give our team the edge. Those are moments I'll never forget.
UDD: As one of the veterans on last year's squad you helped the team transition from previous head coach Larry Coker to current head coach Frank Wilson. How did coach Wilson earn your trust and how did you see the program change under his direction?
Egwuagu: Well I think there's a lot to be said about any coach that comes in and makes it a point to meet with his team face to face even before having a full coaching staff [in place]. The thing that separates Coach Wilson from a lot of coaches is the way he treats you with respect like a man and conducts himself. I remember meeting with him one on one in his office when he first got to UTSA and after conversing briefly, he already had my respect. The biggest way that I saw the program shift under The Frank Wilson Era was in the extreme sense of FAMILY that he brought to the team. It wasn't just about the individual, it was all about The Team. He made it feel like we were one big family rather than a football team, and that’s what me and a lot of the guys love the most.
UDD: Defensive coordinator Pete Golding brought a big change to the UTSA defense in 2016 by moving to an odd-man front and a more aggressive philosophy across the board. Last season saw your role expand, playing both up close to the line of scrimmage as well as moving across the secondary with deep coverage responsibilities. How did you approach the transition in the film room and on the field?
Egwuagu: I fully embraced the transition. I remember Coach G having a conversation with me one day and he basically was explaining to me how this defense allows you to showcase all of your talent, allows you to show scouts you can be the jack of all trades. With that in mind I would be eager to watch film and really try to just trust the process by giving it my best effort. I think it really paid off well, I love Coach G's aggressive, in your face style of play, it fits my football personality.
UDD: You've played a lot of different positions throughout your career from a traditional outside linebacker to a 4-2-5 hybrid safety as well as a more traditional safety. Which scheme and position do you picture yourself thriving in at the next level?
Egwuagu: Its crazy man but i honestly see myself striving at either position or both positions simultaneously in the NFL. I am very comfortable at both positions as I've been playing both positions since high school. For me it’s all about the film room and learning what’s expected of me, then regurgitating that with my own little added flavor on it.
UDD: UTSA's program will need to replace your vocal and positive leadership following your graduation. Are there any younger guys in the program that you're looking to take up the torch in establishing a sense of brotherhood in the locker room?
Egwuagu: My brother, my family member, a guy that I love with all my heart.. Josiah Tauaefa. This [guy] is an impeccable young man. He's got everything that it takes from the personality to the big-time playmaking ability, and he is very down to earth and humble. I will forever speak highly of my brother.
UDD: How is your preparation for the NFL Draft progressing? Can you expand on your schedule leading up to draft day?
Egwuagu: I've been up here at The Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas preparing for my UTSA Pro Day & this lengthy NFL Draft process. I signed on with my agent Chris Turnage and The United Athlete Agency a few weeks back and we are constantly talking back-and-forth with teams while I'm continuing to train. My schedule is jam packed right now but I love it. I wake up every morning Monday through Friday at 5:30 am shower, get ready, then go down stairs to the hotel dining area where me and the rest of the MJP athletes eat breakfast. I get to the MJP facility each day around 7:15/7:30 am then don't leave the facility again until around 11:30 am or 12 pm. I usually come back up to the facility after eating lunch to do some recovery on my legs, like contrasting in the hot tub and ice tub. Then I like to finish off with the Normatech leg compression. After recovery I head back to the hotel to shower up and do whatever online classwork I have for the day. [I’m] still on pace to graduate this May with the rest of my class, so that’s awesome.
Every Tuesdays & Thursdays I have a private yoga session, and I usually get a private massage in once a week. After that is all done I just rest and usually do some reading or [watch] Netflix. I'm forcing myself to just focus on training so the extra idle time is perfect. Then I repeat this process weekly.
This is the first time in my life where I'm really being strict with my training and body maintenance, so it’s awesome to see the results from that.
UDD: Do you have any goals you're seeking to specifically accomplish in your training?
Egwuagu: I think my only goal is to leave here in the best shape I've ever been in my life.
Thanks again to Egwuagu for taking time out of his hectic schedule to chat with us. We’ll be following Egwuagu’s NFL Draft experience throughout the next few months as he prepares for UTSA’s Pro Day on March 28th and draft weekend (April 27 - 29).
Whichever NFL team that brings him aboard will gain an impressive athlete with a high football intelligence and a true passion for excellence and self-improvement. That’s a time-tested formula for a lengthy and successful professional career.