Bai Jobe moved to the United States from his native Senegal in 2018 to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.
“When I saw basketball in Africa and the NBA, I had a big dream about basketball, to become like an NBA player,” said Jobe.
Fast forward to now and he’s hoping to play in the NFL after playing soccer for the first time last year.
Jobe, 6-5, 210 pounds, of Norman (Okla.) Community Christian School, was encouraged by coach Mat McIntosh and others on his team to give soccer a try as soon as he arrived as an eighth grader.
“I told them no, I just wanted to focus on basketball,” said Jobe.
The local paper published a story about five local basketball players who switched to football and became college candidates.
“The whole story was essentially about basketball kids who started playing football late in their high school careers and to whom they were committed,” said McIntosh.
McIntosh gave the paper to Jobe on a Friday and asked him to do a book review of the article. The following Monday the two talked.
“I said, ‘Bai, that could be you,’ and he looked at me and said, ‘Even if I’m just on the sidelines?’ I started to die of laughter, “said McIntosh.
Local orthopedic surgeon James L. Bond and his wife Susan are Jobe’s host family. Bond took Jobe to a high school football game in September, which piqued Jobe’s interest and triggered a call to McIntosh.
“He knew some people who were playing and the following Sunday they called and asked if it was too late to come out [for football]”Said McIntosh.
The next day, Jobe joined the team in week 5 of the season. Accustomed to the metric system, he was asked to run a 6-yard pass route during his first exercise.
“He says, ‘Oh, okay. What’s a yard? ‘”Said McIntosh.
Four days later, he played a couple of snaps in his first game.
“I didn’t know anything about football,” said Jobe.
His family back home was initially not interested in him playing football.
“They thought I was going to get hurt,” said Jobe.
He almost left to go home. His mother died about a month after arriving in Oklahoma.
“I didn’t even want to stay,” said Jobe.
Jobe stayed at his father’s insistence.
“If my father says something, I’ll do it,” he said.
Thanks to his speed and athletic physique, he started two games and played a total of seven this season.
“We put him on the defensive and told him to just chase the ball,” said McIntosh.
The thoughts of playing in the NBA have subsided.
“To be honest, I’m a soccer player now,” said Jobe, who still plays basketball and has some little college offerings. “I work hard to be the best that I can be.”
Jobe became famous thanks to reporter Brandon Drumm and coach Sean Cooper. In March he received his first scholarship offer from Pittsburgh.
The University of Arkansas expanded an offering on April 16. He added offers from Washington State, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Minnesota, and Texas Tech. ESPN rates him a 4-Star Prospect and the No. 233 overall recruit in the nation for the 2023 class.
While his coaches were teaching him about football, Jobe also studied online.
“Even though I don’t know everything about football, I know a lot because I started going to YouTube and Google and stuff,” Jobe said.
Jobe was regularly in the weight room after the basketball season was over.
“I love soccer,” said Jobe, who attended camp in Arkansas on June 25th. “I want to play in college. I have to do everything to get bigger and better every day. “
He calls the Bonds mom and dad.
“I came to a family who would look after me, who love me,” said Jobe.
McIntosh said Jobe was super competitive and had a great personality.
“He’s very intelligent,” said McIntosh. “He came to the States without knowing English. He speaks French and Wolof, which is his mother tongue, and English. “