Onyenegecha ready to get to Norman

All-American juco cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha talks about winning his appeal with the NCAA, the status of his hamstring injury and his plan of attack once he gets to Norman.


JH: You finally won your appeal with the NCAA. Can you describe your feelings?

CO: "I was pretty excited. I was relieved more than anything to learn that I was going to be able to play this year. It was tough just waiting and waiting to find out what they were going to say. I was very happy to hear the news. My coach called me last Thursday morning with the news and it was like music to my ears. It is interesting that it seems everything was happening on that day. I took my last final on that day as well and I also learned that I was going to be able to play this year. It is a great feeling to know that what I was standing up for was right and that the NCAA saw it my way."

JH: So you now have all your academic work out of the way?

CO: " Yes, I do, because my academic work went well. I just needed to buckle down and get down to serious business, which I did. I will graduate this will summer."

JH: Do you now feel vindicated for the stance you took against Arizona State?

CO: "It wasn't that I was trying to prove a point, but I think I was trying to prove that I was correct. When all this came down I was getting hit pretty hard by Arizona State and they were trying to make me out to be some kind of bad guy, or a guy that doesn't keep his word. The circumstances with them changed when their DB coach left so soon after signing day, and they knew that wasn't right. That situation right there changed my situation totally. I wasn't trying to prove a point, but to just prove that my facts were correct. Arizona State didn't handle my situation correctly and that wasn't right. Then they tried to make me out to be a bad guy, and I didn't feel that was right either. There are many reasons for me to be happy about this situation."

JH: How did you injure your hamstring?

CO: "I at the Northern California Junior College Championships and I was running in the finals of the 100-meter dash. At the 45-meter mark I was in the lead and I tore my hamstring. I think I was too excited or something. There were about 1,000 people in the stands and a number of pro football scouts were in the stands as well. The place was buzzing with excitement and the 100-meter dash is always the glamour event and I was favored to win the race. I got off to a great start, which was a little unusual for me. I am usually in the middle of the pack at the start, but I found myself in the lead and instead of easing in the race, I think I was thinking that I was going to break a record or something and just over extended by hamstring and it tore on me. I had surgery a week after that race to repair the hamstring and currently I am going through rehab working hard to get the hamstring back in shape.

"I am coming along great right now. I am jogging and beginning to step it up. I would say in another four to five weeks I will be back to 100 percent. I was probably too excited at the track meet, because I was in great shape and I was getting close to the state record. I just pushed it a little too hard and the hamstring didn't hold. However, I am in great shape and the hamstring is coming along great. I feel very good about where it is at and where it will be in a few weeks."

JH: When do you think you will be healthy enough to get started at OU?

CO: "I may have to miss some time during two-a-days, and maybe an early game or two, but I should be able to get back for most of the season."

JH: Hamstrings are tricky with sprinters, so when do you feel you will be all the way back?

CO: "I will be back all the way when I am not even thinking about my hamstring again. When you are going hard and you are healthy you don't even think about your body, because you always feel you have some more to give. I have always been able to run fast and I have always felt good about my legs and body. I will get it back to where I am not even going to dwell on this injury. I was running great and pushing hard to break my personal record, which is 10.28, and right now I am working to get back to 100 percent. When I am healthy I am looking forward to reporting OU and help their football team win championships."

JH: What kind of workouts are you doing to rehab your injury?

CO: "I am not doing football drills, because I am working on the hamstring. I am doing a lot of swimming in four feet of water, basically walking in water. I swim halfway and then I run through a ladder in the pool in shallow water and keep doing the process over and over again. Then I work on a treadmill, jog and walk at a fast pace. I am doing a little more each day, and the fact I am jogging now is a big step."

JH: What are you goals at OU?

CO: "My first goal is to do well in school. My second goal is for us to win, because that is what it is all about. My third goal is to stay healthy and play well."

JH: When will you check into OU?

CO: "I will be down there the second of August."

JH: How do you feel practice will go for you early in camp?

CO: "I will be getting treatment as soon as I get there. When practice starts I will not only be going through rehab, but studying film and watching the DB's at practice. I don't think learning their system or playing cornerback for them will be that difficult because I am a natural athlete, but I do need to learn their language. So, I can do a lot while I get my leg in shape and I will be studying their defensive secondary a lot.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories