Fort Worth

‘Don't Give Up': Fort Worth Homeless Teen to Play College Football

Arlington Heights senior signs letter of intent with Southwest Baptist University

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A Fort Worth high school senior signed an offer to play college football this week – a remarkable accomplishment for a homeless teenager who has never played in a single varsity game.

Leslie Adindu was 18 when he immigrated from Nigeria last year and enrolled as a junior at Arlington Heights High School.

Football may be the most popular sport in America.

But for Adindu, it was like a foreign language at first.

"I really didn't know anything about football or anything like that,” he said.

Coach Charles Perry asked him if he wanted to join the football team.

"The great thing about Leslie is he's had a great attitude. And he's got a really good work ethic,” Perry said.

Adindu first joined the junior varsity team and learned how to play.

"I really didn't do a workout my whole life so it was a little hard,” he said.

Then, he and his father got in a fight. His dad moved away.

Adindu moved into a homeless shelter.

"The big thing with being homeless, especially the kids we have, we don't want them to lose hope,” Perry said. “In that situation, you're surrounded by people who have lost hope."

Adindu soon encountered another problem on the varsity team his senior year.

By then he was 6-3 and 285 pounds.

But he turned 19.

According to Texas rules, he was two weeks too old to play high school football.

"Obviously he was disappointed,” the coach said. “But he tried to see the big picture."

They asked but the state wouldn’t grant a waiver.

"They tried their best but that didn't work out so I just took it as it was,” Adindu said.

But his coaches got an idea.

They invited him to stay on the team, even if he couldn't actually play.

The plan -- record him in practice games and push him with college scouts.

And coaches at Southwest Baptist University in Missouri noticed him and saw potential.

"I didn't really think it was happening because most people in my situation they just -- they just lose hope at times,” Adindu said.

The teenager, still living in a homeless shelter, signed a letter of intent this week.

“He's a success story,” Perry said.

And a story of faith and hard work from a most unlikely college football recruit.

"Basically don't give up,” Adindu said. “Most people would have given up. Just don't give up. Do the best you can and leave the rest to God."

Adindu said he plans to study law or business in college.

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