Bangura grinds his way to the top

Photo courtesy Abu Bangura

Abu Bangura II, a junior computer information technology scholar from Clayton County, GA has always aspired to be a professional football player.  During the commencement of his football career at Stockbridge High School, he started off playing on the offensive side, as a tight end and offensive lineman. During his first two years at Stockbridge, he dominated the junior varsity competition, catalyzing a genuine love for the game.

“I knew after my junior varsity season, I had the skills and talent to one day be great.  It was like a switch clicked and I began to work extremely hard to be the best student athlete I could be,” Bangura said.

Bangura’s emotions grew stronger for the game as he dedicated more time perfecting his craft.  During Bangura’s junior and senior year, he became a team captain and led his team to the semifinals each year.  As a result of his athletic and academic success at Stockbridge, many Division 1 schools became interested in Abu. However, only one university was successful.

Ralph Street, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University football’s Defensive Coordinator, drove four hours to Stockbridge High School to witness Bangura firsthand.

“Coach Street was infatuated with my size and speed. He told me that my skill set, and work ethic fits the defensive scheme for FAMU, and I will be a huge asset to our team,” Bangura said. “He admittedly facilitated an official visit for myself to attend the following weekend, where I was offered a full scholarship. The rest has been history.”

Bangura was set to commence his first start as a Rattler this season on the defensive line. Due to the postponement of his season, he continues to work toward his goal. Bangura says whenever his number is called, he will be more than ready for the moment.

Bangura’s mother, Donna Bangura, has seen much improvement in her son.

“As a mother, I wanted Abu to play every sport but football. I was concerned about possible concussions and the physical destruction the game may come with,” his mother said.

“Watching Abu since recreational ball at the age of eight, I saw how passionate and determined he was to make a name for himself. Witnessing Abu everyday go out to the field by himself during the pandemic really solidified his determination in my eyes.  I was so impressed by his actions that he actually motivated myself to go out and exercise.”

Nasir Greer, junior safety at Wake Forest University, has been friends with Bangura for years as their relationship has revolved around football.

“AB and I played on the same middle school team and we became friends when I realized how seriously he took his craft. AB was never the player the coaches automatically played.  He was mostly overlooked at times, but his grind made him unstoppable,” Greer said. “Every time we both are home, he is always calling to put some work in. His mentality will carry him far in life.”

Not only has Bangura’s skillset elevated on the field, his achievement in the classroom has been a catalyst. Bangura was awarded a gift certificate from FAMU Athletics for Academic Improvement for the 2020 summer semester.

Bangura is excited for the kickoff of his junior season as the Rattlers are scheduled to compete against conference opponent South Carolina State on Feb. 20, 2021.