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The Road to the NFL Combine Came Through Nashville for Draft Prospects Ty Chandler and Obinna Eze


INDIANAPOLIS – Every player has a different road to the NFL Draft.

Here at the NFL Combine, TCU lineman Obinna Eze and North Carolina running back Ty Chandler looked back to their days playing high school football in Nashville, which helped pave the way for what came next.

Now, they're on the NFL's doorstep.

"Nashville is home for me in America," said Eze, a native of Nigeria who prepped at Davidson Academy. "Nashville is a very special to my heart. Nashville is the first city in America that received me and treated me like home. My foster family is from Nashville. I was introduced to football in Nashville. My wife is from Nashville. I went to high school in Nashville. So, Nashville is a very special place to me."

Chandler, who prepped at Montgomery Bell Academy and played his first four collegiate seasons at the University of Tennessee, feels the same way.

"I met some great people at MBA, and had some great times there," Chandler said. "I have received tremendous support from people at MBA, in Nashville. I still talk to people at MBA – it's been nothing but love. I love going back to the city and seeing family, seeing old friends. It's nothing but love.

"When I was there, we prayed for times like this. So, it is a blessing to be here."

Eze's road was definitely unique.

A 6-foot-8, 334-pounder, Eze originally came to the United States in 2015 to play basketball. He ended up playing varsity football for just one season at Davidson Academy under coach Jonathan Quinn, and fell in love with the game.

In his lone varsity season, Eze helped pave the way for Davidson Academy to average 439.9 total yards and 35.9 points per game while leading the Bears to a 7-4 record and a TSSAA Division II Class A playoff berth. He was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Division II-A All-State Team.

After spending four seasons at Memphis, Eze played his final season at TCU. He's now preparing to be drafted to play in the NFL.

"All of this," Eze said, "is a dream come true."

Chandler, meanwhile, began playing football in Pleasant View, Tennessee, as a 10-year-old.

He went on to play at MBA, where he was a two-time Division II-AA Tennessee Mr. Football Award winner. Chandler ranked seventh in TSSAA history in career rushing yards (6,158) and third in career touchdowns (92) at the conclusion of his prep career. He rushed for 2,252 yards and 39 touchdowns as a senior in 2016, leading the Big Red to an 8-2 record.

At the University of Tennessee, Chandler who played in 45 games, with 25 starts, and he totaled 2,015 rushing yards. He ranks fifth in UT history in all-purpose yards with 3,245.

In his lone season at North Carolina, Chandler started all 13 games and he finished the season with 1,092 rushing yards and 13 rushing TDs and had 15 receptions for 216 yards and one receiving TD.

His next stop: the NFL.

Chandler believes he'll be able to help a team with his versatility, and speed.

"Life is all about opportunities," Chandler said. "This is something you dream about as a kid. I grew up watching the NFL. So, it is a blessing to be here, and I want to take advantage of this opportunity."

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