But what makes Njoku special is that he’s the first Knights football player to make a college commitment.
The running back recently announced his verbal commitment to Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., and he will make the decision official Wednesday, during National Signing Day.
“I like the coaches, the players, the environment, the town, the city,” said Njoku, who expects to be redshirted his freshman year. “Just a good fit for me.”
Lenoir-Rhyne is an NCAA Division II program and two-time defending champion of the South Atlantic Conference. The Bears made it into the second round of the Division II tournament this past fall.
Njoku was named to the Cherokee County Gridiron all-county team as an athlete and was an honorable mention on the Cherokee Tribune all-county team.
Njoku played under coach Robert Braucht for all four seasons at River Ridge and was instrumental in the team’s development. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 15-yard run with 2 minutes remaining against Pickens on Nov. 2 to clinch the Region 7AAAA (A) title for the Knights.
That win also sent River Ridge into the state playoffs for the first time.
“This is the first opportunity for one of our football players to sign,” Braucht said. “I think this speaks to the opportunity to excel is evident at River Ridge. If you want to be a good athlete, you have the opportunity. The coaching is there, the facility is there — it’s just whether a player wants to apply himself like Vince did.”
Njoku said that while it feels different to be the first from River Ridge’s football program to make a college commitment, it comes with being part of the first graduating class.
“It’s great,” he said. “Not everyone gets to do it every day or every year.”
Braucht says Njoku’s hard work is what made him the player he is today.
“He has some God-given talent and abilities, but his work ethic stands by itself,” the coach said. “He has the heart and determination to make his mind up and become a football player. He is a self-made player.”
Braucht thinks Njoku will find success at the college level, and not just on the field.
“He won’t have any trouble adapting to the college atmosphere and the rigor of the academics that he will be faced with,” Braucht said. “The River Ridge staff and faculty do great preparing these kids.”