The CFC looks in on Ontario native Tolu Akinwumi, and his stint with Rice University in Houston, Texas.
LB, Safety, Special Teams
6’1″ / 215 LBS
For many, the transition from Canadian football to American football can be as simple as an extra down, but for Tolu Akinwumi, weather, play books, and physical shape stood out the most. “The transition was not easy. Coming to Houston I had to get acclimated to the weather- above 100 degree heat. I had to lift much more than I did in Canada. It took a while for my body to get used to the lifting and running regimen.In high school, I had a wrist band and no play book. At Rice, the playbook is very thick and it took me a while to really understand and memorize.”
However all things aside, when it comes down to just football, Akinwumi thrived on the new experience. “Playing wise, I enjoy the higher level competition, it requires more attention to the little things and making less mental mistakes to enjoy success.”
Its in high school, where a player separates himself from his competition and rises up to the appropriate ability to play a high level of football, and Akinwumi did just that with a little help. “I thank God for the physical tools he has given me, because that is what separated me from the rest at the high school age. My drive pushed me to further develop myself. I was always pushing to get better.”
As much as a physical presence can help, its the people and things that surround you that too, can push you to being the best you can. “My motivation is what gave me the drive and persistent to get here. I’m very blessed to have gone to Notre Dame Brampton, where alum Jamaal Westerman and Fernand Kashama came and spoke to the team about the work it takes to play at the Division one level. I went to a few camps in the US and soon realized I was better than most of the kids out there.”
Playing for the Rice Owls has presented Akinwumi with some great opportunities and has also allowed him to experience new things. Akinwumi’s biggest moments so far? “Playing against Baylor and the Heisman trophy winner.” Simply put.
Unfortunately due to a few injuries this past year, Akinwumi will not be playing this upcoming season. But thats not stopping the tough line backer from staying positive. “I’m studying environmental engineering at Rice and that will provide other opportunities as well. Overall, I’m excited to see what my future will bring.”
Tulo Akinwumi knows the importance of being a disciplined player and passes that on to young players playing organized football in Canada. “Stay motivated, work hard, get yourself out there. Only a handful of schools actively recruit Canada.”
Graduating next year, Akinwumi will set out on a new adventure. Whether it be in football or not, he will never forget the people who helped and made a difference, along the way.” I started playing football in grade 9 and had no clue what I was doing. I was big for my age and I could do is run, that was it. I’d like to thank all the coaches and teammates (Notre Dame, Brampton Bulldogs) that led me to where I am today.”