Vikings former DE Kenechi Udeze named to USC coach staff


Former Minnesota Vikings first round draft pick and defensive end Kenechi Udeze has accepted a position with USC to be their defensive line coach.

In the 2004 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings took USC defensive end Kenechi Udeze with their number 20 overall selection. Udeze was a highly touted prospect, earning All-American honors during three productive years of college football.

Udeze came on to the scene strong. notching 36 tackles, five sacks, a forced fumble and a pass defense in his rookie season. The young man looked to be a reliable cornerstone for the team to build around in the future, continuing to be productive for several more years.

Sadly, his NFL career was cut short in 2008  when he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. He quit the game of football to focus on battling the disease. Now, with his leukemia in remission, Udeze has returned to the sport of football, but will be helping other young men hone their craft at the college level.

It was announced today on the official Minnesota Vikings website that Kenechi Udeze has accepted a position on the coaching staff of USC to work under head coach Clay Helton as their defensive line coach. For Udeze, returning to USC to give back to the school that helped make him a professional football player.

"“There are times in your career when you meet someone and just know that they are going to be a superstar in the profession,” Helton said. “Kenechi is that person. I was blown away by his attention to detail with technique and fundamentals in our recent bowl game preparation and in the interview process. His knowledge of the game is something that is going to be critical to the development of our young defensive line. Kenechi is a Trojan to the core, and his passion for USC is felt by all.”"

Udeze’s story is both inspiring and amazing. For him to overcome his physical situation and return to the sport that he loves shows a lot about the heart and determination that the man has. With his success at both the college level and what he accomplished in the NFL, there is little doubt that he will be an asset to the USC staff.

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Congratulations to Kenechi Udeze and USC on a partnership that should help bring some experience and passion to the running backs position. Best of luck to USC on their upcoming football season and the Minnesota Vikings should be proud to have one of their former players helping to create some future NFL stars.