Pearland Home to Rising Junior

Get to know Pearland junior to be Sam Ukwuachu. The 6-5, 200-pound receiver/defensive end is on the radar of the state's top programs as well as an SEC East school and could enjoy a breakout year in 2009 for the Oilers. Burnt Orange Beat spoke with "UK" about recruiting and his expectations for his junior season.

The Pearland Oilers produce some of the top prospects in the Houston area on a yearly basis and have been for nearly a decade. The class of 2011 will be more of the same with speedy running back Dustin Garrison and fast growing defensive end/receiver Sam Ukwuachu.

"UK", as he is known by his teammates, is a 6-5, 200-pound junior-to-be for the Oilers that has already caught the attention of three major programs in the region. Ukwuachu began the 2008 season on the junior varsity playing receiver and defensive end, but was quickly called up after injuries to both starting defensive ends on the varsity squad.

The then 6-5, 185-pound sophomore's first game came against Pasadena Memorial in 22-5A play. UK entered the game and made a solo tackle on his first play and he became a fixture on third downs as a pass rusher.

"I came up to the varsity midway through the season," Ukwuachu said. "My first game was against Pasadena Memorial. My first play, I made a solo tackle. I also had a sack in the game, but the quarterback wasn't whistled down even though his knee hit the ground. I was mainly used on third downs as a pass rush specialist. I had a sack against Hightower in our playoff game."

Now 15 pounds heavier with a frame that eventually can carry 240+ pounds, a future at defensive end or tight end seems very likely. Ukwuachu played receiver growing up and still loves the position, but says he's a team player and is willing to do whatever it takes to play for a major program.

"I've been a receiver all of my life. I know I'm going to play defensive end for our team for sure because that is where I'm needed. I prefer receiver, but I'll play wherever the coaches put me. I just love football. I'm not really an individual type, but a team player. I play where the team needs me. If I'm recruited at defensive end by the major programs then I have no problem playing there," Ukwuachu said.

If the rising junior is to become an every down player in 2009, he knows he must get better at the point of attack.

"At defensive end, I have to improve my run stopping skills. I played at about 185 pounds last year and have gained 15 pounds since then and that will help. I know I have to continue getting bigger and stronger. As a pass rusher, I've got the speed and ability," Ukwuachu said.

In the spring, three programs showed early interest in the next Oiler D-I defensive end prospect. Ukwuachu is one of the very few 2011 prospects that didn't attend summer camps, but plans on taking in college games this season.

"No sir, I didn't go to any camps this summer. I was going to go to Arkansas, but I decided too late. Same with UT. I know that UT (Coach Applewhite) came down in the spring to watch me. A coach on our staff has a family member that coaches at Arkansas and they came down to watch me. A&M did too and wanted me to camp. I will probably go to some college games this year and I'm looking at education first. That is #1 with me. Other than that, a good atmosphere with coaches that looks at me as a person and not just a player," said the honor student.

Ukwuachu ended up playing in eight varsity games for the 12-1 Oilers that lost to state runner-up Hightower.

The long armed prospect with high 4.5's speed lists Texas and Florida as his two favorite programs growing up.

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