'Wu' Looks To Make An Impact

Redshirt junior offensive guard John Amanchukwu may be new to the offensive line, but when things are going good along the front he can defenitely tell.

"We work together everyday as a unit, and we're looking pretty good," John Amanchukwu told Pack Pride. "We're picking up blitzes and stunts well, and we are practicing together everyday trying to get better. Trying to build that chemistry we need."

'John Wu,' as he is called by his teammates, transferred to NC State in 2004 from St. Augustine's College, a CIAA college literally minutes from the NC State campus.

He spent his transfer year working with the defense, and physically he still resembles a defensive end or tackle. Athletically he has everything you're looking for in an interior offensive line prospect, and the 6-foot-3, 285-pound standout says that may be blessing and a curuse.

"I think it helps a lot, but it's almost like a blessing and a curse," said Amanchukwu. "I look like a defensive lineman, and physically I can run like them. I'm strong from playing there, and I know what they are trying to do.

"But, technique wise it takes a little longer to pick up on that stuff. I didn't grow up everyday kick-sliding and power-setting. I grew up rushing somebody or catching the ball."

Catching the ball is exactly what he thought he would be doing in college when he graduated from local Cardinal Gibbons High School. Amanchukwu was one of the state's top tight end prospects as a high school senior, receiving attention from the likes of NC State, Penn State, Virginia, Boston College, UNC, Wake Forest and Auburn. He ended up at St. Augustine's after not receiving any firm scholarship offers and when the opportunity came to transfer back to NC State, he jumped at it.

Now the former tight end is competing for a starting position along the offensive line, and not at tight end or defense.

"I was open to the move because whatever helps the team out I will play. That's what I want to do," said Amanchukwu.

What's been the toughest part about moving to offense for Amanchukwu?

"Probably picking up the sets and formations has been the toughest part, but that comes with the territory."

A member of the 2004 ACC Honor Roll, Amanchukwu is also an ordained minister at God's House of Prayer.

With players like 'Wu' battling for starting positions now at offensive line, NC State head coach Chuck Amato has to start feeling better about the depth of a position that struggled in 2004.

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