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Q&A: Linebacker embraces next man up mentality

Emeke Egbule (left) is the next man up in a linebacker corps that has produced NFL talent in each of the last two seasons. | Richard Fletcher Jr./The Cougar

A linebacker from the UH football team has been selected in the NFL Draft each of the last two seasons: Elandon Roberts in 2016 and Tyus Bowser in 2017.

The linebackers have been a staple in the Third Ward Defense that has helped propel UH football into the national spotlight. With Matthew Adams and D’Juan Hines now graduated from the team, junior Emeke Egbule is the next linebacker to take on a leadership role.

The Cougar met up with Egbule to discuss his preparations for the spring game, his thoughts on the NFL and his goals for his senior year.

The Cougar: How have practices gone so far?

Emeke Egbule: Going great, it’s fun. Having a good time. Learning the basics, going over everything, but just having fun.

TC: With the NFL Draft coming up, you’ve had a few teammates, from the linebacking corps specifically, who’ve had their name called. What’s it been like seeing that?

Egbule: That’s a great opportunity for them, happy for them. It’s great to see players go to the next level. Hopefully I can get there one day.

TC: Was there anything you were able to take away from them when they were still your teammates?

Egbule: I learn something every year from different linebackers, from pass rushing to just being physical to coverage drops. I learned something new from each one of them.

TC: Safe to say the linebacker corps has a next man up mentality?

Egbule: Oh yeah, all the time. I’ve been in that position once when Tyus left, so I was the next man up. Even when he got hurt I was the next man up. It’s always the next man up once somebody leaves so you’ve just got to fill his shoes.

TC: Who has motivated you the most in your career with UH?

Egbule: Elandon Roberts comes back all the time. I just remember when I was a freshman and he was here, and I remember he was the hardest hitter. I remember I just wanted to do that. That’s what I learned from him — how to be physical.

TC: Who’s the next man up after you graduate?

Egbule: David Anenih. He played last year, a true freshman, so he’s getting better and he’ll get better every year.

TC: With the spring game coming up this Saturday, what are you hoping to accomplish?

Egbule: Just do my job on every play. I try to be perfect every time, every play. Just as long as I’m doing my job, having fun it’s all going to be good. Motivating my teammates to do their job to get better, and if we’re having fun together, that’s what it’s all about.

TC: Do you have a personal goal for this season?

Egbule: Just being more of a leader and getting better at things I need to do for myself and my teammates. Just constantly getting better, constantly improving on every play.

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