As a junior wide receiver, Uzoma Nwachukwu looked up to an experienced group of seniors on his Allen (TX) High School team including all-American and Texas signee Dan Buckner who served as a leader and role model for the younger players on the squad. With that large class of seniors graduated, Nwachukwu is now the veteran senior and he is taking over that role as senior leader and mentor to a much younger 2008 Allen team.
"I've taken on more of a leadership role," Nwachukwu said. "I'm now the experienced senior. I'm the team captain. I've got to lead by example and work harder than everybody else. When younger people look up to you, you can't take a day off and you can't slack off. You have to be a good example."
The Scout.com four-star Texas A&M commitment relishes the extra responsibility of being the veteran that the younger players look up to for advice and leadership.
"It's a role I feel very comfortable in. I like being the vocal leader out of the field and getting the players behind me," Nwachukwu said. "But I also have to perform as a leader. In the fourth quarter I can't get tired. I've got to be sure-handed and make the play for the team."
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound receiver reports that fall practices for the Eagles are going well, and the young players on offense have responded and are showing significant improvement every day. However, it's the defense that has Nwachukwu excited about this season.
"We've always been pretty good on offense and that shouldn't change this season even with a young quarterback," Nwachukwu said. "But I think our defense is really going to step it up this season. Defense here has always been a question mark in the past, but they look great so far in practice."
Nwachukwu also feels that individually he's primed to have a good season. If his preseason testing at the school is any indication, 2008 defenses better be ready for the athletic playmaker.
"We tested right before fall practices," Nwachukwu said. "I ran a 4.35 forty, squatted 520, benched 335, and my vertical jump was 41.5 inches."
With those kind of measurables, you can be sure that despite his early commitment to Texas A&M, college coaches will be calling him when the contact period begins in just under two weeks. Will Nwachukwu be taking those phone calls?
"I don't think it's smart to ignore phone calls from coaches even if you are committed because you never know what can happen," Nwachukwu said. "I feel very solid with my commitment to Texas A&M, but you have to keep the lines of communication open in case the situation changes. You have to be prepared."
Asked if his commitment depended on the look and success of the new Aggie offensive system under new head coach Mike Sherman in 2008, Nwachukwu clarified his position.
"Not really. When I made my commitment I understood that Texas A&M was in a rebuilding process so if they struggle a little bit early on, that's not a big deal," Nwachukwu said. "I'll be interested in the sets they run and the philosophy of the offense, but I'm not going to judge my commitment based on the season record. I'm solid on my commitment."
Nwachukwu is looking forward to game day at Kyle Field and will be planning several trips to see his future teammates this fall.
"I'm excited to get down there for a game," Nwachukwu said. "I've heard so much about the game atmosphere there, I want to experience it and enjoy it knowing that I'll be on that field next year."
Nwachukwu Taking the Lead
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