Remember the old Tommy Tuberville days, where he’d grab a big dude who played one side of the line and flip him around to the other side? It happened quite often. Auburn’s highest-rated offensive lineman over the past couple of seasons follows that same trend, but his story is much more involved than that.
Prince Tega Wanogho (pronounced TAY-ga wah-NO-go) didn’t just come from the defensive side of the ball on his path to turning into a high draft pick at left tackle. He journeyed from across the ocean and across the continent of Africa, all the way from his home in Nigeria. There are probably many people around the world who could look at a United States map and point out Florida, or Texas, or the rough area where New York and Los Angeles are located. There are fewer people who can pinpoint where Montgomery, Alabama is located, and that’s where Prince Tega was heading.
He was originally a basketball star, but his size and new location deemed that football would probably receive a chance. He learned about American culture, including Waffle House.
“The next morning, it was off to Waffle House. Overwhelmed by the size of the menu, Wanogho copied Todd’s selection: the All-Star Special. It’s the only thing he has ordered since.”
That certainly would get Gus Malzahn’s attention, and he ended up at Auburn as one of the top ten players in Alabama, only he played defensive end. It didn’t take long for the switch to happen, and all of a sudden he was going to be moonlighting at offensive tackle.
In 2019, he finished his Auburn career as a 2nd-team All-SEC offensive tackle. Not bad for a kid whose years of organized football could still be counted on one hand.
It’s not hard to see why many people are fans of Prince Tega. He’s a big, strong guy, and has the ideal frame to turn into a top offensive tackle in the NFL. Some things you can’t teach, and sheer size is one of the main qualities that you just have to find in someone. Tega’s got it.
Many of the positive traits listed for Tega involve physical attributes — strong, quick hands; loose hips and quick feet; lateral movement that allows him to work in a zone blocking scheme — and those are the things that teams will be wanting to draft, knowing that they can teach some of the other skills that only come with time in the game.
When you consider that most of the prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft, and pretty much every NFL Draft, have been playing the game since they were humanly possible, some of these weaknesses don’t seem too bad.
Tega’s football career has only spanned a few years, and so many of the hits to his game turn out to be things that need to be taught, rather than instinctual. Misplaced hands, loose footwork, and a limited repertoire of moves to throw off defenders are just a few of the more commonly seen items on the list.
Thankfully, the physical skills allow him to play through many of these negatives, but he could be a truly elite tackle with a few more years of instruction and work against some of the top players in the game. Even with these negatives, he’s projected as a long-time contributor and starter at tackle in the NFL.
He’s going to get picked fairly high, and whoever takes him will be looking to improve upon a supremely physical and naturally talented prospect. His learning will come with time and experience, and the crash course he got in college will only expand in the NFL. I don’t know if he starts right away, but he should be getting plenty of opportunities and he’ll be a solid starter before too long. Maybe never a perennial Pro-Bowler, but he’s not going to let the quarterback get too dirty back there.
Round Value: 2nd Round