FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington Heights High School senior, Leslie Adindu, signed his letter of intent this week to play college football.

It’s a big accomplishment for any student athlete, but for Adindu, it means everything.

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You wouldn’t know it, but he’d never picked up a football until 2019.

That’s because up until then, he lived in Nigeria where they don’t play American football.

“I couldn’t throw it,” Adindu said. “I just flung it.”

The team’s coach, Charles Perry, saw Adindu in P.E., knew he had potential and convinced him to try the sport.

“It’s that Cinderella thing you hope for,” Perry said. “When we first started, I mean he couldn’t even get in the stance.”

He played for two games on the junior varsity team last year.

But then COVID-19 hit, and the team went home to continue workouts virtually. But when Adindu didn’t log on they wondered what happened. They thought maybe he moved back to Africa.

That’s when they learned it’s because he was living downtown at the Union Gospel Mission.

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He became homeless after he and his father got into a fight, and his father moved out of state.

“The reason we came over here is for better opportunities, so I wasn’t gonna let that be an excuse, cause I know what I came for,” Adindu said.

If he hadn’t been through enough already, UIL rules prohibited him from playing football for Arlington Heights this year because of his age. He turned 19 two weeks too early.

So, the coaches made a highlight tape of him in practice games and sent it off to different universities.

“In a situation like this you hope a school comes in and takes a chance on a kid,” Perry said.

A handful got in touch, including Southwest Baptist University in Missouri, where he signed his letter of intent this week.

“This is a story, that you love to experience,” Perry said.

Adindu will tell you he doesn’t show emotion. But he did say there’s one thing he just can’t believe.

“That I really signed a letter of intent to go play college ball,” he said.

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Nicole Nielsen