North Bethseda (Md.) Georgetown Prep defensive end Chinedu Udeogu has put in a lot of miles during his short lifetime. Born in Chicago to Nigerian parents, Udeogu moved back to his homeland when he was four, before returning to the U.S. for his freshman year of high school.
Travel, Udeogu said, after his Wednesday visit to California, is no big deal, as his parents still live in the Windy City while he attends Georgetown Prep – a boarding school.
"My parents are very big on education, and that has to do with the Nigerian culture," Udeogu said. That, combined with his ease when it comes to travel, make Berkeley quite a desirable landing spot, along with the other two schools he’s visited – Rutgers and Yale.
“Cal, the No. 1 public school in the world, that’s a very big deal to me and my family,” said Udeogu. “I think that this degree would mean a lot, if I end up deciding to go here. That will play a pretty big role, but, of course, football, I love football, and I just want to go somewhere where they compete, play good competition and have a respectable degree. I think Berkeley has all those components."
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Before Udeogu’s five-hour visit to campus on Wednesday, he already had a bit of a scouting report, in part thanks to JuCo center commit A.J. McCollum.
“My older brother goes to City College of San Francisco, and Cal has a center that’s coming in next year that goes there, so they play alongside each other,” Udeogu said. “He told me a lot about Cal-Berkeley, a little bit about Stanford and USC. Really, it’s been him and the research that I’ve done has helped me get to know a little bit about the school before I came up.”
Udeogu’s lengthy campus visit included watching the Bears’ entire fall camp practice under clear skies and 75 degrees. California weather, he said, is just a bit better than either Chicago or Maryland.
“They were telling me that even the winter’s like this, so that’s definitely nice to hear,” Udeogu said. “I don’t know too many people that like the cold.”
Academically, Udeogu carries a 3.2 GPA, and wants to major in either business or engineering.
“They told me their business school is very good, their engineering program is very good, and it’s just an overall good school,” Udeogu said. “That’s definitely a good thing to know.”
Udeogu brought out his tight ends coach and school recruiting coordinator Keith Willis on the visit, which spanned the entire breadth of what Cal has to offer.
“They took me around campus, took me around the football facilities, I watched the entire practice, I talked to their academics coordinator, I talked to the head coach, and then I had an individual period with the defensive line coach and the defensive coordinator,” said Udeogu, who flies to Arizona on Wednesday night, and then back to Maryland on Thursday.
Udeogu said that he found out just about everything he needs to know about the Bears during his trip, which will be useful as he nears a decision date.
“I knew the campus was a very nice campus, and I knew it was a very good school, but I think what really struck me was the football facilities,” Udeogu said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that big, that nice. They told me that they put in a lot of time and money on the facilities, and it shows. That’s what stuck out the most to me.”
As for the action on the field, Udeogu came away impressed, with Fred Tate’s bunch.
“I really thought they looked really good. I saw Number Nine, and I really liked him,” Udeogu said, referring to defensive tackle James Looney. “Thirteen [Kyle Kragen] looked good, their JuCo defensive end [DeVante Wilson] looked very good. They look like a good group of guys who can make something happen this year. I’m looking forward to watching them on TV.”
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At 6-foot-5, 245, Cal sees Udeogu as a versatile athlete who could play either defensive end spot.
“They told me their base defense is a 4-3, so they see me playing either end – right or left, it doesn’t matter,” Udeogu said. “They see me being a rush end, a straight defensive end, who just rushes the passer. I’m looking forward to it, if I end up going there. I had a good talk with the defensive coordinator [Art Kaufman] about all that stuff.”
Udeogu was instantly impressed by Kaufman.
“I thought he really knew what he was talking about,” Udeogu said. “He blew me away with what he knew, and I think we formed a pretty decent relationship while I talked with him at practice, and I had one-on-one time with him after.”
The energetic Tate also made an impression.
“I saw him coaching, and you could just tell he loves football,” Udeogu said. “I talked to him a little bit, we watched some film, too, so it was a good day. It was a good day.”
Udeogu starts his own fall camp on Saturday, and wants to see Pitt in late August, after his first or second scrimmage. Then, he wants to visit East Carolina, and then, make his decision.
“I would like for it to be the first week of September,” Udeogu said. “I’m not 100-percent sure exactly when the date is going to be. It could be later. I’m just not sure yet. We’ll see.”