Darren Agu | "The last several years have been crazy for me"
Born in Ireland and raised in London, Darren Agu is currently a freshman defensive end attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Darren had his first glimpse of American football at age 12, and it was passion born at first sight.
It would be four more years until he found an avenue to actually try the contact version of the sport, he attended the NFL Academy here in the UK which gave him the fundamentals and foundations to make the brave move across the Atlantic in the middle of a pandemic.
Darren moved to play football at Rabun Gap High School. Located in a tiny town in northern Georgia, his consistent flashes of greatness, maturity and intelligent playing style gained Darren All-State Honours in 2020 & 2021 seasons. Considering his minimal experience in the sport, this was an incredible achievement and showed to college coaches he has determination and heart.
College coaches who watched the highlight tape that Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Eagles head coach Joe Sturdivant mailed of his 6-foot-6, 235-pound defensive end prospect’s only season of 11-on-11 competition became fixated on how Agu’s might translate onto the college level. His offer list became quite impressive, amassing over 30 schools including top programmes like Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Penn State and Tennessee. He committed to Notre Dame before switching to Vanderbilt in July.
The British native shows quick feet and easy change of direction despite his size, which allows him to be as versatile on the defensive side of the ball. The fans of Vanderbilt and European football fans will have a lot of joy watching Darren’s games the next few years.
Currently 3-1 and sat in first place in the SEC, how has the start of the season been for you?
The start of the season has been exciting for me for sure, getting all the reps against Hawaii and Elon is allowing me to adjust to college football quicker than if I was to sit out. But definitely I had an exciting start. Just being able to play and learn is amazing.
You originally committed to Notre Dame but switched to Vanderbuilt, what was the reason behind the decision?
Yes I was committed to Notre Dame, but I didn’t have a good relationship with the coaches there at the time, whereas even when I was committed Coach Haye and the Vanderbilt staff still communicated with me and continued on building a relationship which really stood out to me and ultimately led me to flipping.
How is life on campus and in Nashville?
Life on campus and in Nashville is amazing. Vanderbilt's campus is nice and compact, nothing is too far away. Nashville in general is an exciting city. I mean it’s called Music city after all.
Born in Ireland and raised in London, attending high school in the States and now college. How has the last several years been for you?
The last several years have been crazy for me, playing in the UK and climbing up the ranks back home and learning the game then moving to high school in Georgia where I had to adapt and improve my game again which was an eye opening and thrilling experience. Then playing college football which was the ultimate goal. Different for sure, many kids want to start freshman year but they don’t understand how hard it is and the ups and downs you will have.
Formerly a part of the NFL Academy here in the UK, how was that experience?
The NFL academy was a good experience, I’d say they built the base for me to allow me to continue on building from that in the US in highschool which got me ready for college.