RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Nevada's Patrick Choudja has come a long way in his football career; all the way from Africa.
"I never thought that a kid from Cameroon would be here playing football," said Choudja.
The Wolf Pack senior came to America by himself at just ten years old.
"Some family members were getting killed and citizens getting killed," added Choudja. "And you can't really voice your opinion because if the wrong people hear it, they'll come after you."
He bounced around, living with relatives and friends. That included stops at four different high schools in four years. He finally found a home at Freedom high school in California. And a new friend in a local autistic boy.
"I kind of related to him, because of the fact that I came here and didn't know English," said Choudja. "I didn't know anyone; kids would make fun of me at school because I didn't speak English."
Gavin Tobin became like a brother to him, and his family welcomed Patrick in and game him the home he'd been missing for years.
"They took me in and made me one of their sons," added Choudja. "So I consider them my family."
The Tobins come to every home game at Nevada, and have seen Choudja grow into a 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive lineman. A player who has earned a starting spot on the Pack's defensive line as a senior.
"Choudja's really improved from the Spring," said head coach Jay Norvell. "He's a big athletic guy. And he's been great on special teams, and that just shows his unselfishness as a senior. And we're really excited about him as a leader."
Choudja will become an American citizen in January, but he has not forgotten where he's come from, or the struggles his people are still facing today.
"I got a chance to pursue my dreams and hopefully make something of myself," added Choudja. "And hopefully go back there and give back to the community."
He plans to return to Cameroon one day and help build schools and hospitals for those in need.