Patience bears fruit for Imatorbhebhe

first_imgIf patience is a virtue, then USC redshirt freshman tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is as virtuous as they come.It was a moment 665 days in the making. It was a dream that traveled a total of 2768 miles — from Suwanee, Georgia to Gainesville, Florida to Los Angeles, California — in order to be realized.It was a first-and-10 play on a Saturday afternoon against Colorado at the Coliseum when USC redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold heaved a 32-yard touchdown pass to a diving Imatorbhebhe. On Oct. 8, it was a dream realized; it was Imatorbhebhe’s first collegiate touchdown.“I was so grateful I was able to come down with the catch, and when I got up, I just thought, ‘God, thank you, the glory is yours — yours alone,’” Imatorbhebhe said. “I wasn’t surprised or anything that it happened, but I was mostly happy about the fact that it put us up early in a big game like that.”Imatorbhebhe’s journey to crossing the goal line for the Trojans began on Dec. 16, 2014, when he signed to play college football for the University of Florida. Less than one year later, Imatorbhebhe found himself across the nation at USC after transferring from Florida. After joining the Trojans last fall, Imatorbhebhe patience would begin to be tested, as he was forced to sit out and redshirt his freshman season due to NCAA transfer policies.“There’s a lot of mental gymnastics you have to go through [when sitting out an entire season], because you’re grinding every day and you don’t even get the chance to put pads on on game day,” Imatorbhebhe said. “I felt like I grew so much waiting during that redshirt year … I think it’s like when photos have to develop in that dark room first, because if they don’t then they won’t be ready when that light hits them — that’s kind of how I looked at my freshman year sitting out.”Imatorbhebhe’s allegiance and shift westward to USC goes beyond opportunity on the field — it runs in his blood. Imatorbhebhe’s younger brother, Josh, is a freshman wide receiver for the Trojans.“[Josh’s] such a dynamic athlete, the stuff he can do on the field is baffling. Pretty much everything he can do well, I struggle with,” said Imatorbhebhe regarding the on-field abilities of his younger brother. “It’s been cool watching him grow both on the field, and off of the field as a man. It’s pretty much like just me and him taking care of ourselves out here in college now.”Over its past four games, USC has reaped the benefits of Imatorbhebhe’s toil during his glamor-less redshirt season last fall. Beginning with Colorado, Imatorbhebhe caught a touchdown reception in three consecutive games through Oct. 22 (the others being against Arizona and Cal) for the Trojans. Against Oregon, Imatorbhebhe reeled in a deflected pass to complete a difficult 37-yard reception for the Trojans that preserved what would be a scoring drive for USC in its conference win over the Ducks.“All last year as a redshirt, he was just one of those guys who would be staying and working after practice, always putting in voluntary time in the weight room … he’s a young man who is really maturing and developing into something special,” said USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin. “You couldn’t ask for a better young man. He’s very committed to his faith. He keeps working at his craft.”The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Imatorbhebhe is not difficult to spot during practice at Howard-Jones Field, let alone amongst the general population of USC. While his size — even as a redshirt freshman — may be one of his greatest assets on the field, he credits his successes elsewhere; more specifically, he looks upward.With his personal Instagram account filled with quotations of scripture from the Bible, and with a constant burden on his heart to “give glory where glory is due,” Imatorbhebhe accredits his work both on and off the field to a being which he believes to be more powerful and capable than he is.As USC enters a pivotal three-game sprint to the conclusion of the 2016 season, it will look for continued offensive production from its tight end corps — with Imatorbhebhe as a spark plug.“As a team, I want us to be brothers who would lay down our lives for each other,” he said. “If we have that bond, nobody will be able to tear us apart, and as a result, nobody will be able to beat us … I feel like we’re on our way there right now.”last_img

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