Super Bowl Champion pays homage to alma mater

Derrick was in the house


Josh Brown

Derrick Nnadi reunites with former coach Chris Ramey in the weight room during 4th block weightlifting.

A month after Derrick Nnadi won Super Bowl 54 with the Kansas City Chiefs, he returned to Ocean Lakes High School to visit former teachers, administration, and coaches.
“I felt really lucky about being able to welcome him back to Ocean Lakes, and it was surreal seeing this guy that I had watched on my TV all season,” said senior Isabella Libonate, who helped welcome Nnadi with a sign that read “Congrats and Welcome Home.

The 2014 graduate returned to see his favorite teachers.

“On top of everything, it was the time I spent in Mrs. Seacrist’s classroom, that was probably the best class I had; I had all my friends, one of the best teachers I had,” said Nnadi.

As Derrick traveled the halls, he signed autographs and took pictures with anyone who asked. In fact, at one point, a crowd followed him as he went from class to class. He ended his travels at the weight room, where he once trained.

“I’ve coached for almost 30 years, I’ve coached a ton of college athletes and a handful of pro athletes too. He’s the top three when it comes to work ethic in the weight [room]. He was always focused, never took a day off, and lifted at a high level, which is not easy for most high school-aged kids,” said Coach Chris Ramey.

Nnadi took the time to talk to the students too.

“I was pretty shocked that I was even able to get an autograph at all, which is why the only thing I had was my shoe,” said Isabella after getting her shoe signed by Derrick. “He’s a super nice guy and was really cool about the whole thing.”

Nnadi talked to students about his experience playing at the highest level in football.

“You’re going to be on edge; but if you’re stressed, you’re going to make mistakes. The best thing is to just keep a calm mind regardless of the situation, so you can think correctly without any type of error,” said Nnadi. “I just take a step back to breathe and relax.”

Shortly after his visit to Ocean Lakes, Nnadi was honored by the Virginia Beach City Council who made Feb. 18 Derrick Nnadi Day. This was presented by Councilman and former NFL player, Aaron Rouse.

“He’s an inspiration for everyone that has dreams of being a pro athlete and doing great things after high school,” said Isabella.