Outside of Adrian Peterson the most talked about newcomer on the OU team this summer is cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha. Folks have asked if he is really on campus, really living at OU, is he healthy, is he eligible, is he actually eating at OU, does he actually stay in Norman, if he will start this year or will he actually see the playing field this year?
Throughout the recruiting process this reporter has developed a nice relationship with Chijioke, and after a grueling workout last week the former JUCO All-American stopped to talk to answer some of those tough questions for an OUInsider EXTRA edition.
JH: How is your hamstring doing?
CO: "My health is fine and I am about 100 percent. I am doing pretty well. My hamstring is back. I can run fast again. I am back to my junior college spring stage. I am not in top, top shape, but I am getting there."
JH: Have you really hit full stride yet. Have you run a forty yet or a hundred yet?
CO: No, not really, but in our workouts we do everything and we do them at top speed. Right now I am just trying to get through these workouts."
JH: Are you going to test next Wednesday and see what you can run in the 40 or 100?
CO: "I don't know, but I would say most likely, yes. I am doing whatever the team is doing. I am not being set aside from anything; I am doing whatever everybody else is doing.
JH: All Junior college players have to get adjusted to being a student/athlete at the D-1 level. How is that going for you?
CO: "It is going pretty well, but I am always making adjustments it seems. At times it seems almost overwhelming. I think making the transition from junior college to major college is a little more intense than going from high school to junior college. That is especially true with school work because the amount of school work is a little more. The OU Academic Center is pretty strong and they make sure you have everything done and get the right amount of help you need. So, school is going well for me and I am going to be fine for this season."
JH: How do you think you are doing in seven-on-seven drills?
CO: "It is just more of a learning process for me. I am learning our defensive language, if you know what I mean. I am going from my system in junior college to this system here and they are quite a bit different. Seven-on-seven, for me, is basically learning, but I am competing pretty well. I am getting a lot better."
JH: Mark Clayton says you are the toughest guy to get off the line of scrimmage against. How do you feel about that?
CO: "I don't know if I am that good, and with Mark being a nice guy I am sure that he is giving me a little extra. I am alright, but I will never give myself that much credit. I always have a lot of room to get better, and I feel that I still have a long way to go to get back to a dominating level."
JH: You are now going up against one of the top receiving cores in the country every day in practice. You are getting a first hand look, so just how good are they.
CO: "This receiving core is excellent. I give them an A+++ You have guys like B.J. (Brandon Jones) who is really strong and physical with a lot of speed. Mark Clayton is really shifty on the line and he has enough speed to go deep too. Every time I line-up I have a guy that is really good across from me, but you see different styles of receivers in all of them. You can't be slacking against any of them.
"They are certainly making me a better player. Going up against, what I think is the No. 1 wide receiver core in the country every day, is going to have me playing well when I step out there on Saturday's. Each one of these guys are solid, and I like going up against those guys every day. Normally in junior college, you have one wide receiver on a team that is alright, but you never know that he is the best in the country. Here, I am playing against the best in the country every day in practice, and that is getting me better. I love it because they push me. They go hard on every play and I go hard with them. It is helping me get better so I can be ready for the season."
JH: The short-side corner spot is wide open with the loss of Derrick Strait. Don't you have a great opportunity to start at the position?
CO: "Of course. It is not easy because at this school, which is a highly prestigious school, everybody on this team is a great athlete and they are really good. It is not like I am just going to come in and dominate, because they are competing just like me. Everybody is fast, everybody is strong, so it is not going to be easy for me. The guys that I am competing against are just as good. I have to work extremely hard and I am just looking forward to just playing. I don't know if I am going to be a full-time starter, but I just want to get on the field so I have to get myself ready."
JH: The big key is that you are confident that you are healthy and ready to go?
CO: "Yeah, I am healthy and ready to play."
Chijioke Onyenegecha Q&A
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