Emeka Egbuka
Steilacoom High School/Ohio State Universit
2023 Football
For a man who recently completed just his second collegiate season, Emeka Egbuka already boasts a full trophy case and a resume that can stand against almost any other.
Born Oct. 14, 2002, in Tacoma, Egbuka was a three-sport star for three years at Steilacoom High School. While he played baseball and basketball in high school, it was on the gridiron where he received national attention as one of the top prep players and recruiting targets.
Egbuka helped lead Steilacoom to the 2A state championship football game in 2019, where he set a title-game record with 18 receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns on offense, while also intercepting a pass and tallying eight tackles on defense. He finished his prep career with 199 receptions for nearly 4,000 yards and 61 touchdowns, and due to COVID and the opportunity to enroll early with his college program, he did all of that in only three years at the high school level.
Egbuka’s sheer dominance on the gridiron garnered national attention, as he was a consensus five-star prospect and ranked as the nation’s top wide receiver and No. 8 overall player according to 247Sports. He was named Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019 and MaxPreps Junior of the Year for Washington and All-America after catching 83 passes for 1,607 yards and 25 touchdowns, while also returning three punts for scores and rushing for four more, with a total of 2,240 all-purpose yards. On defense that year, he recorded 28 tackles and eight interceptions as a defensive back, including a pair of interception returns for touchdowns.
From a long line of some of the most storied programs in college football, Egbuka chose to continue his career at Ohio State University, where he enrolled early in January 2021. He promptly earned Freshman All-America honors from Pro Football Focus as a returner, as he ranked first in the Big Ten Conference and 12th nationally with an average of 29.0 yards per return.
Egbuka’s sophomore season placed him ninth nationally in receiving yards with 1,151 – the fifth-most receiving yards in the long history of Ohio State’s football team – as he ranked third in the Big Ten in receptions, yards, and touchdowns and earned second-team all-conference honors. His performance made him a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, and he enters the 2023 season with receptions in 14 consecutive games.
Off the field, Egbuka is an academic all-Big Ten honoree and an OSU Scholar-Athlete while majoring in marketing and on track to graduate in December 2023. On the field, he is primed for another year of adding to his local legend and helping the Buckeyes compete for a national championship.
2023 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients