MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Alonzo Addae’s path from the Canadian province of Ontario to Morgantown included stops in New Jersey and New Hampshire. After graduating from St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School in Toronto, Addae completed a postgraduate season at the Peddie School in Highstown, N.J. Addae enrolled at the University of New Hampshire, an FCS school. He redshirted in his first season and then played two seasons for the Wildcats before transferring to WVU.
“There’s definitely a difference with the game speed,” Addae said. “I would say the margin for error is definitely a lot different. At that level (FCS), you are kind of able to make up for stuff with your athleticism. But at this level, everybody is just as athletic as you, if not more. So your margin for error is smaller.”
The second redshirt season served Addae very well. He has stepped into a starting cornerback spot in his senior season and is leading the Mountaineers in interceptions with two. He is the team’s third-leading tackler.
“My mentality coming here when I found out that I had to sit was to take advantage of those things I didn’t take advantage of in my redshirt year at New Hampshire. So I really just try to lock in on my game. They put me in the developmental program. So I was heavy into the weights, heavy into the positional skill drills.
“And I was able to compete against the 1’s every day on scout team. So I was able to compete against Jarret (Doege) and those guys on a daily basis, which was good and definitely helped my game.”
In the Canadian version of football, receivers can have a running start and move towards the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. That is a luxury receivers in American football are not afforded but Addae says the experience of the Canadian game was beneficial.
“It helped me a lot, especially playing defensive back just because of the motions in Canada and being able to cover receivers running at you full speed before the snap. Now coming to the states, they are stationary. Obviously they can motion but not a running start. So I feel like it definitely helped me at the defensive back position. Obviously, the rules are different so it took a little getting used to.
“But I was also able to travel with certain travel teams. And I came down here for camps before starting college in the states.”
Like most of the Mountaineer players, Addae was able to return home during the early stages of the pandemic. The unexpected free time in his normal schedule was utilized in unique ways.
“Luckily, I was able to go home for a short period of time. The coaches worked with me, being able make sure I could return safely back. And I was back here pretty early in the summer. So during quarantine, it was a lot of working out from home.
“I was doing different little things, things that I might not be able to do during a normal summer where we have in-person classes and stuff like that. I had more time on my hands to be able to go for runs in the morning or working on catching with a teammate.”
WVU head coach Neal Brown has emphasized ‘brand building’ for all of his players. Addae channeled that thought process into launching ‘Daily Deposits’ on social media. While at home, Addae posted videos and details about his workout regiment, while encouraging others to take part in challenge exercises.
“Here at West Virginia, we do a lot of community service. When the pandemic started and we had to go home, the coaches still wanted us to be involved on our communities in any way possible. With ‘Daily Deposits’, I started posting small videos of me working out everyday, which I would normally do. And it was getting my deposit in, which was me depositing time into my craft.
Major Announcement ‼️‼️ https://t.co/o7IsZmsBew
— Zo 🇨🇦🇬🇭 (@alonzoaddae) May 1, 2020
“I received a lot of feedback from my immediate community. My teammates also supported me a lot with it. It grew from there into what it is now where I have an Instagram page and people back home working with me on it and staying involved in the community and get everybody involved. Especially during the pandemic when everybody was inside, nobody liked to go out, and still being able to be active and deposit time towards their health and fitness.”