EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The biggest improvement to MSU’s team this year is the defensive line. Mel Tucker and his staff pulled four D-linemen from the portal and all are a whopping six foot four or taller, or 290 or more pounds. One of those is Tunmise Adeleye, a transfer from Texas A&M who had never been to the state of Michigan before stepping on campus. So what got him to East Lansing?
“Opportunity and just having individuals around me that have been with, or been associated with Coach Tucker before, and their reviews on him,” Adeleye said. ” That kind of led me to where I’m at right now.”
Tunmise hasn’t just dealt with adversity and overcome hardships within football. Back in 2006, his family immigrated to Houston, Texas from his home country of Nigeria.
“I have vague memories of Nigeria, but very strong memories of when we first got here,” Adeleye said. “We got here in February and I remember the flight, I remember all that stuff. Houston is like the Lagos of America and it’s a lot of people that kind of understand your culture and know where you’re coming from. It was a hard transition at first,”
After immigrating to Texas, the state with arguably the biggest high school football scene in the country, it was only a matter of time before Tunmise found himself on the field.
“My mom with her big nursing background did not want me, like, she was adamant about me not playing football,” Adeleye said. “But it was just me petitioning and petitioning and petitioning and I was lucky. My fifth-grade squad, Texans Blue, we sucked. We were terrible. We were like two and eight or one in nine. I was like, man, I don’t wanna play this, I don’t like losing.”
That is when Tanmise heard about a new team being put together, the Katy Sun Devils.
“It was a, a super squad,” Adeleye said. “Basically all the kids that were on Katy Sun Devils, we ended up in sixth grade winning the FBU National Championship. We were in ESPN3 and being a part of Sun Devils was a big part of me understanding how big football is nationally, but also in Texas.”
From youth football to now being a Power Five player through all the ups and downs, Tunmise learned from a very young age determination is key.
“In order for us to stay as legal residents in the United States, my mom had to be on a student visa,” Adeleye said. “So she went to school a lot. Seeing her juggle school, dealing with immigration lawyers, and trying to get us to get green cards, eventually now we’re citizens but like my mom was really going through it. I have friends who are studying to be nurses or doctors and then seeing an organic chemistry textbook. I open up, I don’t understand any of that. Seeing her having to deal with all that stuff really motivated me. Don’t give up in all circumstances. There’s always like a light at the end of the tunnel.”