Ade aruna’s journey from nigeria to vikings included guarding andrew wiggins electricity hair stand up


“It was really tough, especially for me,” Aruna said of leaving his family behind in Nigeria. “I’ve been wanting to do something since I was born. My father put a lot of responsibility on me as the fourth child of the house. I wanted to do something that I was going to be proud of for the rest of my life.

“It was difficult. Mostly, I don’t really know [what was happening] on the field,” Aruna said. “But I had my teammates that I was playing with that year, they would literally tell me which was my gap and where to go. My coaches would tell me, ‘Just pass rush every time. Don’t worry about anything else, just line up at the 5-technique and just pass rush every time.’

“I was just there figuring it out and running, just doing whatever I could do for the team,” Aruna added. “It was difficult. I mean, the first time I put on pads, I didn’t even know how to do it. I had to go talk to my teammates, and they kind of literally put everything on my body and strapped it up for me.”

Aruna, however, played four seasons at Tulane, appearing in 44 career games (with 34 starts). He recorded 107 total tackles (70 solo) with 19 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his time with the Green Wave.

Aruna said he trained with Vikings Legend Keith Millard this offseason in California. Millard had 53 sacks in six seasons with the Vikings from 1985-1990, including 18 sacks in 1989, and announced Minnesota’s selection of Brian O’Neill in the second round on Friday night.

“Keith was one of the best to do it,” Aruna said of Millard, who made Minnesota’s second-round selection on Friday night. “I got the chance to work with him when I got to California … he was everything I wanted, especially when it comes to the d-line and a pass-rush specialist.

“As soon as we got down to the stadium to play that game, my coach told me, ‘Hey, I want you to guard Andrew Wiggins. He’s going to be your assignment tonight,’” Aruna added. “I told him, ‘No problem, if that’s how you want it, I will get it done, just like that.’ I gave him one of the lowest scoring games of his high school career that night.”

Aruna came to the United State from Nigeria to attend high school and play basketball. A coach at La Lumiere High School in Indiana saw Aruna’s build and convinced him to play football in his senior season. He received a three-star rating despite only playing one season of football, and Tulane signed him to a scholarship offer. Aruna redshirted in 2013 and played in eight games the following year, making seven tackles with one sack. He gained enough experience in those seasons to start 11 of 12 games as a sophomore, totaling 32 stops, five for loss, three sacks, and two pass breakups. Aruna had his best year in 2016, starting all 12 games, posting 43 tackles, 10 for loss and five sacks. He could only manage 25 tackles and three sacks in 11 starts (12 games played) in 2017.

Aruna’s height, weight, length and athleticism are almost sure to get him targeted by teams looking to mine a diamond from his traits. He appears to be a ways away from becoming a factor on the pro level, but he did show interesting flashes as a 3-4 end this season. Aruna flashes as a rusher, but may not have the ability to get after the quarterback as often as teams would like from a traits-based prospect. Aruna is a developmental prospect, but after putting together a huge combine, he will be drafted early than where the tape would dictate.