Bartholomew Ogbu hasn't suited up for a single practice yet, but he's already received a serious indoctrination into big-time college football.
The recent Shiloh Christian graduate, and top recruit for the Bison, has been working out under the watchful eye of Jim Kramer, NDSU's renowned Director of Athletic Performance.
"Coach Kramer is the real deal," Ogbu said. "You have to come ready to work because he's going to make you work. It's been a great experience for me. Coach Kramer is a great guy."
After his basketball season was cut short by an eligibility issue, Ogbu turned his focus directly to football. He trained at Sanford Power in Bismarck before heading east in early June.
"When basketball was done, I pretty much started lifting right away," said Ogbu, an honor student at Shiloh. "After the school year got over I went to Fargo to work out with the football team and I've been enjoying every moment."
This week, Ogbu and many of the top recently graduated high school football players from North Dakota and western Minnesota are in Mayville, N.D., preparing for the Shrine Bowl on Saturday at Fargo Shanley. The 11-man game will be played at 4 p.m., with the 9-man tilt to follow.
Ogbu said the week's been a blast so far.
"It's been going really well. We're having a great time," he said. "It's been so fun to get to know the players and coaches from other teams. When we're in the lunch room we're talking about when we played against each other, but we've also been talking about things other than football.
"It's been a really cool experience."
The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, has already added significant muscle to his already imposing frame. He's projected to play defensive end for the Bison.
He's made fast friends along the defensive line, notably two-time All-American Greg Menard and fellow Capital City product Stanley Jones.
"Stanley's been big for me since Day 1. He's been giving me tips on my stance and my get-off. He's been like a mentor to me," Ogbu said. "Right from the beginning we've been working really hard in the weight room and we've also been studying a lot of film ... trying to learn the game and how to play better."
Ogbu said it's no surprise the Bison have won six of the last seven FCS national titles.
"It's the championship culture and the work ethic that everybody has. You see it every day," Ogbu said. "I'm so excited to be a part of the program and have this opportunity."
Before he heads back to the Bison, Ogbu is hoping to get one more victory wearing a Shiloh Christian helmet. One of his teammates on the West 9-man roster is fellow Skyhawk Jonas Mitzel.
"I'm very proud to represent my school, Shiloh, one more time," Ogbu said. "My teammates and I are having a fun time together together and we're enjoying the moment, but we definitely want to come out and get a win on Saturday."