USA Today Sports

Among the causes for celebration on graduation weekend for West Virginia linebacker Dozie Ezemma? The revelation that he made it through college with his virginity intact.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia has had a player selected in every NFL draft since 2008, including two this weekend. Dozie Ezemma wasn’t among them, but he has his own streak going.

He’s still a virgin.

And he plans on staying that way until his wedding day.

Ezemma tweeted out the news last week as he packed up his college apartment. The linebacker was proud to be leaving West Virginia with a degree in chemistry, three seasons’ worth of football memories and an even rarer quality, his chastity.

To everyone who said I couldn’t stay a virgin … “You can’t tell me nothing.” I am 23 and waiting on the Queen of Queens, my wife. #Jesus — Tweet from @Dizie4J

The tweet was good-natured razzing for some of his former high school classmates in Ramapo, N.Y., doubters who wondered how any teenage boy could beat back the surge of hormones and abide by such a pledge—much less a gregarious, 6-foot-2 football player heading off to taste college independence.

Ezemma certainly encountered temptations.

“My first year in college, man, it was difficult,” he said. “I remembered all those people back home telling me ‘You’re never going to make it through college as a virgin.’ And when I got there and laid eyes on all the girls, I understood exactly what they were talking about!”

Even at a relatively small Division II campus like New Haven, where Ezemma played his first two seasons, the girls provided what many athletes regarded as a target-rich environment. “Being a football player, there’s opportunities everywhere,” he said. “A lot of people almost throw themselves at you.”

Those opportunities multiplied exponentially once Ezemma transferred to WVU, where Mountaineers players—like most athletes at high-profile programs—are praised, placated and pursued. Yet when it came to sex, this rush end was in no rush.

“Sometimes instead of going out, I would just go home and start reading my bible, just hanging by myself,” he said. “Because you can get yourself into situations where you don’t know what will happen.”

Growing up in the Catholic church gave Ezemma a faith foundation and was among the reasons he initially decided as a sixth-grader to save himself for marriage. Yet he admitted that being involved in church “didn’t necessarily mean I was living a Christian life.” He recalled periods of “partying every weekend” throughout high school, one more reason friends discounted his ability to put off sex.

Those friends might have been right, too, if not for Ezemma witnessing the transformation of another partying classmate his senior year.

“Here was a guy suddenly talking about Christ, when everybody knew all his dirt, knew everything he had done in the past,” Ezemma said. “But that stuff didn’t matter anymore. We had these church meetings at school and he talked to me a lot. I just said to myself, ‘I need whatever he’s got.'”

That’s when Ezemma got saved and became recommitted to saving himself.

It required a level of discipline, dedication and self-deprivation that many teammates and peers in Morgantown couldn’t comprehend. (No hooking up? Isn’t that a prereq at one of the nation’s top party schools?) Especially at a time when even the most religious young people are susceptible to taking a sabbatical from their spiritual selves, the abstinence pledge stood out.

“Most people, when they find out I’m a virgin, they’re shocked,” said Ezemma, who now practices as a nondemoninational Christian. “Male or female, it’s the same reaction. They laugh and call me a liar for a little bit, but then they see that my reaction is genuine, and they’re like ‘Oh, you’re serious?'” (How rare are college-aged virgins? A 2012 study from the Centers for Disease Control showed 14 percent of males between 20-24 had never had sex.)

While seeing superstar Christian athletes draw backlash for clashing with societal tolerances—”I always had Tebow’s back in every conversation,” Ezemma cracked—he said he encountered “nothing but respect” at WVU. In fact, among the most fortifying moments were when teammates professed to him privately, “I wish I had done it, too.”

WVU athletics

After sustaining a season-ending broken ankle in Week 1 last fall, Dozie Ezemma hopes an NFL team will give him a shot as a rookie free-agent.

Last fall, just when Ezemma was primed to become a key part of the Mountaineers’ outside linebacker rotation, he suffered a gruesome broken ankle in the Week 1 against William & Mary. His helmet off and his final college season finished, the fifth-year senior sat backward on a cart bound for the training room when the gamut of emotional coping began.

“I was mad at first and throughout the whole day I was feeling everything,” he said. “But then I just pulled myself together and decided that this was part of my walk. I said I’ve got Jesus with me and others are going to look to see the way I handle this. So I used the injury as a tool.”

Nearly eight months later, with an eye toward reaching an NFL rookie camp, Ezemma contended last week that he was healthy and hungry. Meetings with several teams before the draft left him optimistic of landing an opportunity somewhere as an undrafted free agent.

The day before graduation, a wide-smiling Ezemma tweeted a photo of himself leaving an empty apartment, a roll of paper towels and a container of protein powder under his arm. His getaway-day message:

“It was great West Virginia … Gotta #MoveOut for the next plans for the Lord #WVU #TeamJesus … I had a great time!!”

And you believe he did have a great time, even without the … well, you know.

bubble graphic

47

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Torey

    blessing to you Dozie, I am glad I know you for myself. I proud of you my brother in Christ.

  • Curtis

    THANK YOU!
    I really appreciate Metronews for actually printing awesome articles like this. Something thats encouraging instead of the normal sludge that you see in the news!
    Thanks

  • Shannon

    It is a beautiful gift you are saving for your queen. She will feel honored and cherished. Also as a parent of 5 children I appreciate your willingness to share your story. It is a tremendous testament to your faith and proof to other young people it is certainly possible to wait for your true love. I have know doubt that Jesus will bless you, young man. I wish the best for you.

  • c1

    Awesome! Lots of respect for this young man.

  • Steve

    Where are all the guys who say all our recruits are terrible kids and should be put in prison or worse? I don't understand our fan base. When we have good kids we tear them down, when our kids make mistakes we tear them down. I have come up with the conclusion that our fans are a bunch of idiots that really don't know what they are talking about. We make ourselves look like the rest of the country sees us as. I still say get on the wagon or get off. The media around the country just loves us because we act like idiots.

  • Winona Freeman

    You made the right choice! Wishing you much success in your career and when you do "find" the queen God has for you I pray that our Lord will bless you in every endeavor! Stay true!

  • Gary

    I was awestruck reading this story. It is truly amazing that this young guy kept such a commitment to himself. This display of high morality and character is most relevant to the deteriorated culture in our country. I would wish Dozie luck but I don't think he will be needing it. I believe he will find success in whatever walk of life he chooses. He has made me even more proud to be a mountaineer.

  • BR

    Wow....., I must say I have nothing but respect and admiration for a young man that can not only stick honorably by the particular virtues he chooses for his life - but choose virtues that align themselves with a moral high ground. I do not pretend to be a good a Christian in the true sense of the word (and I lost my virginity in 9th grade in 1976 to an older girl up the street that though I looked good in my football "tights"); but I can certainly recognize integrity in a young man seemingly doing all the right things!!
    And a Chem. degree to boot!!
    God bless, thank you for your service to the WVU community and good luck with your future. Sincerely.

  • joey

    congratulations brother continue your walk with the Master Jesus Christ.

  • uncle phil

    "TeamJesus"?

    Serious question - where in the hell was Team Jesus when we played Kansas?

  • Mister Man

    Unique. Good on ya!!

  • Mike

    Nothing but respect for you, Dozie.

  • whatamoroon

    I'm sure that if this young man had been arrested, those mocking his accomplishments now would be like a wild pack of dogs. Some people need to wake up and figure out the hatred is really at themselves. One more thing, CHARACTER has everything to do with sports. How you play and how you allow yourself to be coached are all character related. We will take a dozen more like Dozie.

  • Bob Straface

    All the blessings to you, young man. Wish you nothing but good health, success in whatever career you undertake and your search for that special lady.

    Bob
    Denton, Texas

  • John

    Sorry to be a dissenter but really a story about a man's commitment to remain a virgin until married. I did the same thing but it certainly was not and is not a foundation of my faith. If we want to be literal about scripture then paul recommends we do not marry, stay a virgin, and marry the church. IF anyone is more interested in a man's sex life or non sex life rather than, on a sports website, about his playing and his education, then you really need to get a life and stop,living vicariously through other people's lives.

    • hailey

      After reading this little exchange from you to I think I need to go get layd

    • Mike

      Where does Paul say don't marry? Sorry but I cant find that Vs. Not saying you are wrong but I cant find it. A little help please. You must be a very lonely person.

    • Hillbubby

      John, while I am not interested either way in an athlete's sexual preference, for some reason it's become a media staple. Just visit any of the dozens of articles on Michael Sam on any particular sports website of your chosing.

      Also, "living vicariously through other people's lives" is THE reason people visit sports websites, John.

    • Alum

      Wow, you must really enjoy tearing down people. A.C. Green is another example of chastity that comes to mind. Do you have any great, self-serving insights on him too?

      Congratulations Dozie on keeping your commitment to yourself and your future wife. Stay strong!

      • John

        Sorry alum, show me where I torn the young man down? My questions concern reducing faith to one's sexuality, how this is a sports related issue, and why are so many people interested in another Person's sex life or in this case non sex life. Please read more carefully and stop being sarcastic and condescending.

        • Mitch

          @ John,

          It's sports related because he's an athlete. Are you seriously that clueless?

        • Alum

          I read your words quite carefully. Perhaps you should show more care when you write. And the is nothing sarcastic about the post, I meant exactly what I wrote. This is a story about a college football player that chose to follow a high standard. If you fail to see the relevance to today's culture, you sir are blind as a bat. Frankly this is a quite uplifting story and may, just may, set an example for other young people. Too bad you can't see the forest for the trees.

          • Alum

            Go along now Mr. Righteous.

          • John

            Thank you mister cliche. You still don't see what I am asking. Show me where I disparaged the young man? If you find something I will show you where you cannot read carefully.