FB Emeka Nnoli

The positions off the top of your head that get you "excited" in a recruiting year may vary all over the field. But it isn't often you see a blue chip fullback who really catches your eye. Sacramento's Emeka Nnoli is that and more in this class. With a world of potential and an early Stanford offer, he is one to watch closely in this class. His top two ring with a little irony...

FB/LB Emeka Nnoli (profile)
Natomas (Elk Grove, CA)
Ht: 6-1: Wt: 219
4.75 forty; 4.09 shuttle
25 bench reps; 33.6" vertical

Some 1700 yards and 22 scores in just 133 rushing attempts.  That's a ridiculous clip of over 12 yards per carry, and unreal for any tailback in California.  But the kicker here is that Emeka Nnoli put up these numbers his junior season in Sacramento as a fullback.  Then it was no surprise that Emeka was named this season as a 2nd team all-state player by Cal-Hi Sports.  He received that honor as a "multi-purpose" player because of his talents as a linebacker, where he totaled 40 tackles and grabbed all-area honors.  Emeka is being recruited on both sides of the ball, but make no mistake that he is seen by many as the top fullback in his class in the state.  Though he is mobile and very agile, it's his size and strength that catch your eye.  In case the photo above doesn't do him quite enough justice, know that he has some real muscle on his frame and good thickness at his height.

Emeka has family ties to Stanford, including his very recently graduated sister, and has been a known Stanford lean.  His offers have come up and down the West Coast, though his recruiting battle appears to be a two-team race.  And has you can read below when I talked with him at the recent Nike Camp in Palo Alta, the offer tactics of Stanford and a new yet familiar foe loom large...

The Bootleg:  Are you happy with your numbers today, Emeka?
Emeka Nnoli:  Yeah, I'm satisfied, but I think I could have done better on the bench and the forty.  I've had a 4.6 forty - that was my best time in the forty - and I've done 30 reps on the bench before.  I could have done better.

The Bootleg:  Are you going to work out today as a back or a linebacker?
Emeka Nnoli:  As a back.

The Bootleg:  Would you describe yourself as a true fullback, a big tailback or hybrid inbetween?
Emeka Nnoli:  Fullback.

The Bootleg:  Is there a fullback in college or the NFL right now who you might compare yourself to, in terms of style of play and who you are trying to emulate?
Emeka Nnoli:  I would say Mike Alstott because we are both high runners.

The Bootleg:  I know you garnered a lot of attention as one of the top juniors in the state.  How do you think you fared your junior year?
Emeka Nnoli:  I think I did pretty well my junior year, with 1700 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns.  So I did pretty good, compared to other juniors around.

The Bootleg:  Any pass catching?
Emeka Nnoli:  No.

The Bootleg:  Is that something you would like to integrate into your game, or are you just a pure hard runner?
Emeka Nnoli:  I think I can integrate passing a little more, but our offense is mostly running.  I'm not going to get many passes.  It would usually be in the flat, but I didn't get any last year.

The Bootleg:  As a blocker, what would you say are your strengths and challenges in the blocking aspect of the game?
Emeka Nnoli:  I need to work harder on my blocking.  I think I'm decent in blocking, but I can get better on it.

The Bootleg:  What are you hoping to work on today?  Any particular skills?
Emeka Nnoli:  Speed, blocking and agility.  I think I can get better in those areas.

The Bootleg:  With all the coaches watching at this camp, is there anyone whose attention you hope you can grab today?
Emeka Nnoli:  Notre Dame.  Stanford as well.  Those are the two at the top of my list right now

The Bootleg:  Notre Dame and Stanford are your two favorites right now?
Emeka Nnoli:  Yeah, they're my favorites right now.

The Bootleg:  Is there anyone else close to them?
Emeka Nnoli:  USC and Washington are close to them.  But like I said, Notre Dame and Stanford are at the top of my list.

The Bootleg:  Well, you have both coaching staffs here, and of course the Notre Dame staff was at Stanford prior to this year.  Did that coaching transition, with Tyrone Willingham leaving Stanford for Notre Dame, affect how you look at those two schools?
Emeka Nnoli:  No, it didn't affect how I look at them.  It's going to be the same team, just with different coaches.  It doesn't really matter to me.

The Bootleg:  What would you say are the positives that have you excited about those two schools?  Could you start with Notre Dame?
Emeka Nnoli:  Notre Dame - they have a great history of football.  They have a good winning history.  I would like to go to a school like that, who wins all the time.  Stanford has great academics, and that's one of my top priorities.  And I've seen that Stanford is tops in the area with that - academics.

The Bootleg:  As you look at those two schools, what are the characteristics you will look at to help differentiate those two schools?  What will be your process for chosing between them if you get offers from both?
Emeka Nnoli:  I want to be able to start my freshman year - play my freshman year.  I don't want to redshirt.  If they have an open spot at Stanford and not at Notre Dame, then I'm going to to go Stanford.  Because I want to play my freshman year.

The Bootleg:  So is playing time and the depth chart your number one focus right now?
Emeka Nnoli:  Yeah, if I can get playing time and just get in the game and play.  I don't want to redshirt my first year out there.  I think I can right off the bat play my freshman year.

The Bootleg:  Have you talked with the coaches at either school on this issue yet?
Emeka Nnoli:  No, I haven't talked to them about playing.  But they have told me I might be able to play my freshman year, once they see my size, speed and everything.

The Bootleg:  Would you mind sharing who has given you offers at this time?
Emeka Nnoli:  So far I have offers from Stanford, USC, Cal and University of Washington.

The Bootleg:  Is there anybody else you are waiting to hear from on that front?  Notre Dame, obviously...
Emeka Nnoli:  Yeah, waiting to hear from them.  Though right now, they aren't contacting me a lot, so I'm kind of not looking at them that much.  But if they start contacting me, I'll start to look at them more.

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