Edefuan Ulofoshio's college football options were limited: become a Lumberjack or a Colonial. He fielded only scholarship offers that would have sent him to remote college-football outposts in either Flagstaff, Arizona, or in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh.
The stark desert or the overflow East.
Had he acted on one of these two financial-aid packages presented to him, Ulofoshio would have either worn the blue and gold uniform of Northern Arizona University or the red, white and blue colors of Robert Morris University.
Ulofoshio, however, insisted on playing at the school of his choice, at a much higher level, in the Pac-12. Without monetary assistance, he randomly settled on the University of Washington.
Three years later, he's a starting inside linebacker for the Huskies, a returning second-team All-Pac-12 selection, a budding All-American candidate and, best of all, properly financed.
In January 2020, all of his UW teammates shared in the moment when coach Jimmy Lake offered Ulofoshio his long overdue scholarship award, fully aware he deserved this as much as anyone on the roster of 100-plus players.
A pre-med student, Ulofoshio is the ultimate high achiever across the college football landscape.
Pro Football Focus described the 6-foot-1, 240-pound sophomore from Las Vegas as the nation's top returning linebacker and a first-team All-American.
Walter Camp designated him as a preseason second-team All-America candidate, alongside Husky offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland.
He's on the Lott Award watch list, an individual reward given to the nation's top defensive player.
Lumberjack or Colonial?
No, he's far more comfortable as a Husky in a Power 5 environment, being the best of the best, and living up to his name that in the Nigerian dialect translates to "unafraid of war."
Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.
Ulofoshio wears No. 48, a number he has all to himself at the UW, not required to share it with anyone. It's the least the Huskies could do after making him pay his way for a year and a half of school. Always working on his craft, he's definitely a wise investment.
"The best advice I've got is to be a leader but don't be someone you're not," he said. "For me, it's like finding ways to be more vocal and communicate but at the same time not be rah, rah, or someone I'm not."
He's also one of the strongest and most athletic Husky football players, ranking tied for first on the team with Luke Wattenberg in the hang clean (365 pounds), tied for second in the vertical leap with Elijah Jackson (40 inches) and tied for third with Jacob Bandes in the front squat (435 pounds).
The best in the front squat are almost all linemen among the Huskies, but that didn't keep outside linebacker Cooper McDonald and Ulofoshio from joining the big boys in this exercise.
When it comes to the vertical jump, these are all offensive or defensive backs showing the most springs among the Huskies with the exception of the highly skilled Ulofoshio,
Truly a legend in the making, Ulofoshio forced a fumble on his first career Husky play on a kickoff. He was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week while still operating as a reserve player without a scholarship.
He still hasn't played a full college season as the man in the middle, starting three games as a redshirt freshman and four more during the pandemic season last fall.
Yet he's still played more than enough for people to put him on All-American teams and the Huskies to consider him one of their top three or four players.
Had he not been so persistent, Ulofoshio would have been a Lumberjack or a Colonial. No offense to those football programs, but he deserved so much better, if not the school of his choice all along.
Ulofoshio's 2021 Outlook: Projected inside-linebacker starter
UW Service Time: Played in 20 games, started 7
Stats: 96 tackles. 4.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 passes defended
Individual Honors: Second-team All-Pac-12
Pro prospects: 2023 NFL second-round pick
Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven
Find Husky Maven on Facebook by searching: HuskyMaven/Sports Illustrated