RECRUITING: Speed Makes NFC's Jenije Stand Out

As difficult as it is to pronounce Ochuko Jenije's name, it might be even more difficult for opponents on the football field to keep up with him. The standout wide receiver and defensive back for Tallahassee's North Florida Christian has the kind of serious speed that makes him a game breaker.

Jenije is a high profile, highly recruited athlete who is among a strong senior core that expects to lead NFC back to state prominence in the fall. Coach Pete Watkins has a team that is hungry for a state title. The Eagles made it to the regional finals last year, a team that was talented and close knit. Most observers believe NFC has the talent to capture the state championship in 2005.

"I think we need to do like we did last year and just gel as a family," he said. "If we do that I don't think anybody can stop us because that chemistry that we had was something else."

Jenije's friends call him Chuko (pronounced chew-ko). This ever so polite three-sport athlete (he plays basketball and baseball, too) and standout in the classroom, is the son of African immigrants.

"My parents are Nigerian," Jenije said. "They were born and raised in Nigeria. I have been there once. It is pretty much the same as America but a lesser profile. Kind of like the ghettos of America. I liked it though. I would like to visit again."

The 6-0, 175-pound Jenije is not the the only family member who is known for blazing speed.

"I have one younger sister that runs track and has won state," he said.

In the classroom, he's very solid. "I have a 3.8 GPA and will take the SAT and ACT in April and May," he said.

On the football field, you'll find him on the field on offense, defense and special teams. He's a standout player in all three areas.

"I play wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner," he said. "I think I have a lot of passion. I love to win. I'm a competitor and really love to win. I just really like getting the ball, I feel like the game is in my hands when I get the ball."

His on the field talents have made him keenly aware that it's the training in the offseason that gets a player ready to excel and make the jump to the next level.

"In my free time I am doing some speed training stuff," he said.

While Florida State has quite naturally commanded most of his attention while growing up in Tallahassee, he's begun to branch out, seeing that there are other schools on the horizon that might interest him.

"I was born and raised in Tallahassee, so Florida State was my favorite school growing up," he said. "But, recently over the last couple of years, Auburn has really impressed me. I went to an Auburn game and the atmosphere was unbelievable."

Jenije has also visited University of Florida and Florida State football games and now his mail box is filling up with letters from Division I programs from across the country.

"I have been getting several letters from around the country and as far away as Stanford," he said. "Florida State and Florida are also sending me letters. I talked to an Iowa State coach and Coach (Chuck) Heater from Florida."

His list of priorities is just starting to build as he heads into his senior decision and less than a year away from choosing where he wants to go to college. He already has a couple of ideas.

"Location and playing time will be the main deciding factors," he said. "I have been here (in Tallahassee) all my life, so all my friends and family are here. I really want to play and have a role as a freshman."

He knows where he will turn if the decision is a really tough one. "If it comes down to a hard decision, I guess I will just have to pray about it."

When the Eagles take the field in the fall you can expect there will be a lot of prayer. Opposing coaches will probably need divine guidance to find ways to stop Ochuko Jenije.

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