What's in a name?

"My name is Chris Akporoghene, last named spelled A-K-P-O-R-O-G-H-E-N-E."

For the IMG Academy rising senior, his name represents the beginning of a football career.

"This is my third year."

Yes, just his third year playing football, the sport he just committed to play at the University of Tennessee, starting in the 2019 season.

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"Coach Pruitt," said Akporoghene, "he wants those kind of athletes that can help Tennessee return to its former glory."

Born and raised in Nigeria, Akporoghene came to Tennessee in 2016, not to play football, but to play basketball.

"That's the game I've known when I was back home."

But he didn't have a love for grabbing rebounds and blocking shots. It was then, that he tried putting on a helmet and shoulder pads. It was a difficult transition, not because of the physical ability, but the lack of understanding.

"Trying to understand what a yard is or trying to understand the meaning of the word 'touchdown,'" Akporoghene joked.

He learned football at The King's Academy in Seymour. It was there that he made a special bond with former TKA head football coach and current Powell head coach Matt Lowe.

"He's one of those kids that come into a program literally a blank slate," said Lowe.

The coach even took Akporoghene to his first college football game: September 24, 2016, Florida vs. Tennessee in Neyland Stadium. With no offers, Akporoghene saw what could be achieved, what Lowe said his future could hold.

"Chris, you could be one of those guys running out of the tunnel one day," Akporoghene said as he reflected on conversations with his coach. "You playing on the field with those guys, you being the one everyone in the stadium is cheering for."

Through patience and practice, Akporoghene worked on his craft, transferring to IMG Academy, to work on making a jump to the next level. He created a lasting relationship with Lowe and his family.

"They're my family here," he said.

When he says that, he means it. Akporoghene's family is still in his hometown: Warri. It's a part of the Delta State Government House in Nigeria. That road from Warri is long and winding.

"I'm from a part of Nigeria where the crime rate is very high," said Akporoghene, "and you have to learn how to survive at a very early age."

His father died when he was 11. His mother, worked so many jobs trying to take care of her son. Now, HE wanted to survive and provide. There was one way he knew how.

"I asked myself, what is wrong with becoming great? You know? If I can remember correctly, my family, my mom's family, my dad's family, none of them have gone really far and I wanted to be the one that breaks that barrier, that yolk. So I asked myself, what is wrong with using the opportunities given to me by God?"

It's a quest to learn. A quest to improve. A quest to make a difference.

A heavy burden, no doubt, but a powerful drive as well. Is there ever time for a break?

"Yeah, I do. Sometimes, I can relax," said Akporoghene, "think about all the ups and downs I've had... then I remind myself why I'm doing this, why it's important for me to succeed and become a better person."

So what's in a name? This future Vol hopes Akporoghene will mean greatness on Rocky Top.