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.

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Comments

  • 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.

  • Holgie

    God bless you Dozie! Your eyes are on the prize.

  • FFA Mountaineer

    I've met Dozie before I realized he was a player and he is great guy. Congrats on all of your accomplishments and good luck with the NFL!

  • Aaron

    What I wonder Allen is why there was no mention of an application for a medical red-shirt year. I understand the NCAA rarely grants 6th years and when they do, the most common waiver under the NCAA waiver rule 14.2.1.5.1 is for circumstances beyond the athlete's control but it does occasionally happen. Did this young man not explore that opportunity?

  • WVU FAN

    This kid has his priorities in order, he will do well in this world.... his Queen will feel special and I pray he finds someone that will make him feel special... smart kid...

    Let's GOOOOOOOOOO!!! Mountaineeeeeeers!!!!

    I hope he stays instate for work.... WV needs good people like this kid ....well the world needs more kids like this kid....

    Good Story/ news about Football player out of WVU .... I am proud to be a Mountaineeeeeer!!!

  • Frank

    You are destined for greatness, God Bless.

  • Baldeagle

    In this day and age there may be less like you and that's okay, but you have the Lord in your heart and you will someday find your queen. As for UNCLE PHIL, I think he has some issues and needs to go on the other PHIL'S TV show. Say hello to Dr Phil for me if you ever decide to seek his help.

  • mike

    God bless you. Great story. May the Lord send his "Queen" soon. Stay true young man and God will give you the desires of your heart. You know that.

    • uncle phil

      Amen! When over 50% of the population divorced - God works in mysterious ways!

  • Hilltopsandy

    This story made my morning. Good luck to you Dozie in all that you do!

  • WV Bud

    This is one college football player I am rooting for. God will bless him in life. If only more were like this.

  • uncle phil

    Poor kid. He's going to carry a lot of regret when he turns 50. Especially after he's married a few years and joins the club of beaten dogs who get nagged relentlessly by some complaining woman who can never be happy about anything.

    • J the C

      Having read too many of uncle phil's comments, no surprise here. ( and no comedy).

    • Alum

      Yeah, like the regret of not having herpes outbreaks, not being infected with HPV, being sterile because of an undetected STD. Lots of regrets there.

      I don't know if this is a twisted attempt at comedy but if it is, you failed.

      And if you happen to be describe you marriage experience too bad for you. My wife and I hit 33 years in a couple of weeks and we have never been happier. Hopefully you either find your way and focus on someone other than yourself, or, you give up comedy because you are not funny.

      • Mike

        Alum Glad to see someone else fails to see the humor in phil's statement. Some times you don't understand how stupid or un informed some people can be. I really believe to many people don't care. This is becoming one sad,sick twisted world we live in. It seems to be a me only world. Know one else matters. It is only going to get worse. There is only one answer I bet your smart enough to figure it out. Phill never will.
        Coming up on 42 years!!

        • Alum

          Figured it out a long time ago!

    • squad

      come on, don't you guys have a sense of humor? with some of the posts on here and how they lean I shoulda known the moral police would be out in full force..

      it was comedy.... did it go over your head?? yes, it did.
      I thought it was funny, phil..I knew it was humor..

      • aquarius

        squad and uncle phil...you two were born for each other....some articles lend themselves to humor...this is not one of them..ezemma made a personal commitment to live his life based upon standards he chose....again i wish him well...squad and uncle phil...take your act on the road.

      • Mike

        squad, If this is funny to you, I bet you have to many to count children that you don't support. Like so many young boys (your not yet men) you let the woman and the state and federal government raise them.
        In WV 40.8% of all births are to unwed mothers.
        In Black mothers it is 75% and Hispanic Mothers it is 45%
        In the USA 40% of all children are born to unwed mothers.
        Men of all races have become cowards and deadbeats.The are to lazy or to drugged up to support the children the help make. They let the hard working people pay for them. Yea this is a big joke.

    • richard

      really uncle phil? first by using the name (uncle phil) it tells me you are someone who gives comments on here and didnt want to use your name. second, you are an idiot for the things you just said. third, you are a poor excuse for a human, fourth, could you not have just said something nice about this young man and the story? you sicken me!

    • Mike

      uncle phil Sorry that you chose the wrong woman. Maybe with your attitude you couldn't do any better. Maybe if you knew what being married was really about you would be a much happier person. I bet your wife regrets the day she said yes to you. Maybe one day she will wake up and find herself a real husband.

    • aquarius

      wow...you just attempted to drained the life out of a feel good story...this kid has the discipline to achieve and have a good life.more power to him...i wish him well.

    • Michael

      Poor kid???...sounds more like Poor Uncle Phil. You found the wrong one it sounds like. Dozie already has it better than you and most right now....Except for me...I found the best one ever!

      Also, agree with Richard too! Congrats and best wishes Dozie!

  • richard

    great story! this young man should be proud of himself. i'm sure his wife to be will appreciate what he has done. we need more Ezemmas in the program. not just because of this topic, but because he is a good moral person.