OU Insider's James Hale talked with San Francisco Community College cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha about his visit to Norman, October 20 - when Oklahoma hosted #9 Iowa State and Heisman front runner Senneca Walace.
Once again this season San Francisco Community College is quite possibly the top junior college program in the country. Last season SFCC won the California Junior College National Championship, while sending 18 athletes to Division-1 programs. Included in that group that went on to D-1 programs were linebackers Lance Mitchell and Pasha Jackson, who as first year players, now start for the BCS' top-rated team, undefeated Oklahoma.
This season SFCC is 5-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. And once again SFJC is loaded with prospects, including cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha, who visited the Sooners last weekend.
I had a chance to talk with Onyenegecha this evening about his trip to Norman.
JH: Your trip to Oklahoma was your first outside of California. so What were your thoughts on the trip?
CO: "At first I thought that this trip wasn't going to be so good. However, once I got there and found out the people were so nice and that Coach Stoops and his staff were so incredible and caring I found myself fitting already right in with their program. They made me feel right at home. The players were real cool and I had a great time there. I am still highly interested in them and I have to basically raise Oklahoma to the top of my list. I met Bob and Mike Stoops, and all the rest of the coaches and it was just like the coaches at City College. I felt so comfortable around them. They were real honest with me and treated me with great respect."
JH: Where are you originally from?
CO: "I am from the Bay Area, but my parents are originally from Nigeria."
JH: How long have you played football?
CO: "I have been playing football since I was nine years old."
JH: Have you always been a cornerback at your size?
CO: "Yeah, but I started off playing running back. Then I got to high school and started playing both running back and cornerback. Once I went to San Francisco City College I have turned into a full time corner. I now enjoy playing cornerback and I have just got better and better playing the position, because I am totally concentrating on just playing cornerback."
JH: Was it one of those deals where you would rather hit somebody than be hit?
CO: "Basically, that is correct."
JH: How do you use your size to your advantage?
CO: "I was so short my whole life that I got used to playing quick and fast. I got my growth spurt late in high school and I added toughness to my game. I had to get used to playing at this size, but I have been able to use it to my advantage. Most receivers are 5-foot-10 and are not that strong, so I kind of beat up on them and don't let them off the line of scrimmage."
JH: You have only given up two pass receptions this year. Is your goal to not give up another pass reception?
CO: "I basically try to work on my technique every day at practice and that helps me a lot. When I go into a game I try to not give up any passes and I just play hard and play as a team player. So, everything has just been rolling my way."
JH: Was Oklahoma your first trip out East?
CO: "That was my first trip ever and I was really excited. That wasn't my first trip on a plane, but it was my first trip to that part of the country and it was my first recruiting trip."
JH: How is your recruiting going at this point?
CO: "I am basically considering Florida State and a few other Pac-10 schools. However, as you can tell Oklahoma has just rolled right up to the top of my list and I might not even take the rest of my recruiting trips. I will probably just take the trip to Florida and choose between Oklahoma and Florida State. I mean, Oklahoma is number one in the polls right now and I am still highly interested and excited about Oklahoma."
JH: So it may come down to Oklahoma and Florida State?
CO: "Yes, that is probably where my decision will come down to."
JH: What were your impressions of the Oklahoma defense and how their corners play? How do you feel you, with your talents, could fit in with that defense?
CO: "I see myself fitting in very well at Oklahoma. They play five to six DBs and they play hard and fast. They are a speed type team that is tough on the d-line, great linebackers with a strong blitz package with a combination of zone blitzes. We do the same thing here at San Francisco City College. Basically, I can fit in smooth with their type defense."
JH: What did you think of Norman?
CO: "Norman was great. I went to a few parties and hung out with Pasha and Lance. I hung out with a number of the defensive guys and they were real cool. They showed me the town and it turned out to not be as bad as many of my friends thought it would be. Everything about the town and people were wonderful. I was overwhelmed by Norman and really enjoyed myself."
JH: What did Pasha and Lance tell you about OU and about Norman?
CO: "They just broke it down to me and said that Norman is a great place and OU a great university. They said if I was going to be anywhere in the country that I should be right there at OU. It is a tremendous football program. The coaches are real with you and everything was positive about Norman. You can see that both Pasha and Lance were real happy at OU and they were having a great time the whole time I was with them."
JH: Did they tell you to definitely come to Oklahoma? And are you good friends?
CO: "Yes, we are real good friends. Lance basically had a talk with me and said if I wanted to improve my skills playing football that I needed to come to Oklahoma. Lance broke it down to me and explained it right to me. I said OK, because I have great respect for Lance. When he was at City College he was a captain and he was a great leader for us. Nothing was different when I was in Norman. Lance explained everything for me and sent some guidance toward me."
JH: Does your mom care if you leave California and go to OU?
CO: "She really doesn't care, because she wants me to go where I am going to be happy. It is my decision basically."
JH: So when you break it down does OU have a pretty good chance to sign you?
CO: "Yeah, basically because as you can see Florida State is struggling this year. You look at how a team is doing as a recruit, which school is doing the best and which program is best right now. Oklahoma is killing everybody and they are basically slamming on everybody. Florida State is struggling right now with a couple of losses and they play Notre Dame this weekend."
JH: Do you return punts or kicks?
CO: "I don't return punt and kicks in junior college, but I did in high school. I still have that ability to do that if I am needed to do that. I am a football player and I will do whatever is asked of me."
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