Chekwa Becomes 11th Member Of OSU's Class

Ohio State discovered cornerback Chimdi Chekwa almost by accident, but the Buckeyes were impressed with what they saw and offered the Florida product a scholarship. Following a mid-week official visit to Ohio State last week, Chekwa decided to commit to the Buckeyes. We caught up with him for his thoughts on becoming a Buckeye.

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa from Clermont, Fla., gave a verbal commitment to Ohio State on Tuesday, giving the Buckeyes 11 members thus far in their 2006 recruiting class.

Chekwa (6-1, 185, 4.4) picked the Buckeyes over Maryland, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

"I'm excited about it," Chekwa told "I think it's the best school for me to do what I want to do academically and football-wise."

Ohio State discovered Chekwa almost by accident. The Buckeyes were originally recruiting his East Ridge High School teammate, wide receiver Richard Jackson. But when Jackson chose Notre Dame, Ohio State focused its attention on Chekwa.

"Most of the schools at the beginning of the year and during the summer came down to talk to Richard, and whoever he talked to, I would talk to also," Chekwa said. "And when Ohio State came down for Richard they saw a tape of me and the saw me in my games and they liked me and later on they offered me a scholarship."

As a senior in 2005, Chekwa finished the season with 44 tackles, seven interceptions, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

As a junior in 2004, he had 40 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass break-ups.

He was asked to name his strengths and weaknesses as a cornerback.

"My strengths are that I'm a big corner, I've got a long wingspan and I can match up with big receivers," Chekwa said. "I'm fast and I defend the deep ball really well.

"If I have any weaknesses, it would be maybe breaking on the ball a little faster, but that's about it."

Chekwa was recruited by OSU receivers coach Darrell Hazell.

"Coach Hazell, I think he's a nice guy, easy to talk to and stuff," Chekwa said.

Chekwa's official visit to Ohio State Dec. 14-16 (Wednesday-Friday) sealed the deal.

"I really liked the visit," he said. "The campus was great, the stadium, the facilities, everything. It was real cold. It was snowing, but it doesn't bother me. Doesn't really affect me much. The weather, it's easy to adapt to."

Chekwa is looking forward to playing for OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

"I really like Coach Tressel and how he approaches things," Chekwa said. "I've talked to him a lot. He actually came down to the school before my visit and I talked to him a few times on the visit. He's the one I called the other day to tell him that I wanted to commit to Ohio State."

What was Tressel's reaction when he got the phone call?

"Oh, he was happy. He was really happy," Chekwa said.

Chekwa moved to Florida prior to his junior year in high school.

"I lived in New Orleans for most my life," he said. "I actually moved here a year and a half before the hurricane."

Chekwa comes from a good program. East Ridge has been undefeated the last three regular seasons and this year was ranked No. 1 in the Class 6A poll. The team reached the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Chekwa also played a little bit of offense in high school.

"I played some wide receiver, but not as much this year," he said. "I pretty much just focused on defense this year."

Looking ahead to his freshman season at Ohio State, Chekwa is open to anything. Like any competitor, he wants to play, but understands that he might need to sit out a year if it's best for the team.

"I don't mind redshirting, but if I have a chance to play right away, of course I'd want to," he said. "But if they think it's best for me to redshirt the first year, I wouldn't mind it. It would not be a problem."

Chekwa's older brother, Ike, played college football at Texas State.

"He graduated and now he's trying to play arena football," Chekwa said.

(Maybe the Columbus Destroyers will pick him up.)

Chekwa will not graduate high school early. He will begin working out with the Buckeyes sometime in July.

"I'm going to wait until the summer and move up there," he said. "I'm looking forward to it already."

Chekwa is also a talented track athlete. He has competed at the Florida state track meet the past two years in the 300-meter hurdles and holds the East Ridge school record in three events: the 100 meter dash (10.79 seconds), the 200 (22.2 seconds) and 300 hurdles (38.7 seconds).

"I also played basketball last year, but I'm not playing this year so I can concentrate more on football and working out and just getting ready for college," Chekwa said.

Chekwa plans on majoring in biological science at Ohio State.

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