As hard as it is to believe, we are now officially under 100 days until kickoff in the Jawja Dome and that means the arduous task of highlighting one roster spot per day until September 3rd, has begun. I'm not built for marathons, but this one's worth the undertaking.
We've got 98 days until kickoff, but that number has yet to be claimed, so today will be the first presumptuous player highlight of the countdown...survey says—Samuel Ukwuachu
#98—Samuel Ukwuachu, True Freshman, DE
Weight: 210 lbs.
High School: Pearland High School (TX)
How'd he get to The Blue™?
Ukwuachu was one of the Broncos' earliest commits for the class of 2011, signing about 10 days after QB Jimmy Laughrea. The Broncos were the 8th school to offer the big Texas DE/WR, but obviously made a big impression on Ukwuachu as he verballed about 2 weeks after the offer even with more schollies showing up daily. All told, the Broncos beat out 11 other schools for his services, including Arizona, Baylor, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisville, Northwestern, and Virginia.
I have it on good authority that this is Ukwuachu's actual nickname...and I'm not about to argue with a 6'5" guy unless he's built like Shawn Bradley.
Mr. Eko from LOST
An integral part of a Pearland team that won the Texas 5A Division I State Championship last year. Made second-team all-state as a junior and senior as well as being voted first-team all-conference both years. Was team's defensive MVP for 2010. Finished his senior season with 70 tackles and 10 sacks on defense and caught 16 passes for 328 yards and five touchdowns on offense. Oh...and about that State Championship:
And you wonder why he chose the Broncos? This video has nearly 3.5 million views, by the way.
Having ESPN's recruiting service start his evaluation with this sentence:
Ukwuachu is a tall lean kid who really comes across as just skinny.
With the departure of the former bearer of the the 98 jersey, the defensive end rotation just got a little more interesting. Shea McClellin is a lock on one end and Tyrone Crawford has to be considered a lock at the other...but behind that pair, the 2s are fully debatable. It's safe to say that senior Jarrell Root will be occupying one of those slots as he has showed continued improvement and can be a handful when he's on his game. The other "2" could be Kharyee Marshall, the speedster who's given the scout team fits. Marshall's size is generally thought to be smallish, however, and his speed rush might not always be called for or even desired in certain game situations. So, that leaves Nick Alexander, Tyler Horn, and Austin Baker that Ukwuachu would need to beat out to play as a true frosh. I frankly have no idea who Austin Baker is so I'll focus on Alexander and Horn. Alexander seems to have the body and the genetics to be a real star at DE, but classmate Marshall has outshined him thus far...or maybe it was just that he was too similar to Ryan Winterswyk and 'Swyk had a kung fu grip on one DE slot since his freshman season. Tyler Horn grayshirted and bulked up and looks like he could be another McClellin-type end for the Broncos. The coaching staff liked what they saw from Horn this Spring and I'd bet that he gets some meaningful time this Fall.
Basically, what it all adds up to is that Ukwuachu doesn't have a lot of room to work with in the current DE rotation. The Broncos generally don't play more than 4 ends until garbage time and Ukwuachu could benefit greatly from a year in Socha's weightroom. He moves extremely well and has the frame to really pack on some solid bulk. I think Ukwuachu redshirts in 2011 and comes on VERY strong in 2012 when McClellin, Crawford, and Root have all moved on. Enjoy your redshirt year, Sam...take lots of notes, and make sure to eat plenty of protein.
Completely made up fact
Many are already fretting over how to pronounce Ukwuachu's name. They'll be less worried when they find out that the "k" "w" "a" "c" and "h" are actually silent.