MOORHEAD-Football was supposed to be something to keep Moorhead Spuds senior Otis Weah out of trouble. It ended up doing more, as Weah verbally committed to play football for the University of North Dakota on Saturday.
"They had a couple players I know, some Moorhead guys, that play up there, so that's cool," Weah said. "They showed interest in me since my junior year. They told me I'd fit well in the running game and said I might be able to play special teams. Can't wait to be a part of it and show what I got."
The 5-foot-8, 184-pound running back and defensive back rushed for 1,815 yards and 20 touchdowns on 178 carries in nine games as a senior for the Spuds. Weah got stronger as the season went on, rushing for 1,441 yards and 16 touchdowns on 120 carries in the final six games of the season. UND was the only Division I school to give Weah an offer. He'll join former Spuds Brady Leach and Jade Lawrence with the Fighting Hawks.
"It feels great to know I'm a part of something and I have a team to play for and I get to play Division I football," Weah said, "I'm really happy about it. I just can't wait to meet new people. It'll be great."
In third and fourth grade in Brooklyn Park, Minn., Weah was getting into trouble at school. Teachers were complaining of him doing things like taking their markers and writing on the walls and jumping on desks.
Weah often wonders what his childhood would've been if he knew his father. His mother gave birth to him alone at a refugee camp in Ghana at the age of 15. Weah's father had left her five months into the pregnancy. Weah and his mother came over to the United States when he was 2.
"It's great. Its crazy I'm my mom's first kid, first kid she's sending off to college," Weah said. "She's worried about how I'm going to eat every day and stuff like that, but she's happy for me."
In fourth grade, a parent recommended football to Weah's mother to help with some discipline for him. It was around that time Weah's mom gave him a college football video game for PlayStation 2. That's where the idea of playing college football began.
"It's crazy thinking back to when I was younger and watching and playing video games and seeing all these college players and now I get the chance to be one," Weah said. "That's really cool."
In seventh grade, problems in and out of school continued, so Weah's mom decided to get him away from a metro area and ended up in Moorhead. Moorhead head football coach Kevin Feeney took him under his wing.
"They're getting a kid who is going to bring a lot of energy to everything he does, doesn't matter if it's the game field, the practice field or the weight room," Feeney said. "I think he wants an opportunity to play running back, and I do think he has the skills to play at that level. Certainly there's going to be aspects of him that need to improve, but he's got the vision, he's got the hips and he's got the explosiveness."
The first person Weah told about his D-I offer was his mom. He said she just smiled.
"It makes me feel good because it makes her feel accomplished, like all her work means something," Weah said. "She's put a lot of effort and time into helping me be a better person and put me in a position to be great and do great things."