Junior update: Strake Jesuit's Chris Ogbonnaya

When thinking about the level of football played at Houston Strake Jesuit, some automatically assume that because it's a private school the talent level is somewhat suspect. Well, that simply couldn't be further from the truth. After all, Strake Jesuit's head coach <B>Ron Counter</B> scheduled anybody that would play them last year and still beat some pretty good football teams. Bay City and Jasper come to mind.

"This year," Counter said, "I'm not sure who we'll be playing. We're moving into a district this year and I'm hoping it'll be 4A, but we may have to go 5A. Right now, we still don't know where UIL will put us."

5A?

Again, Houston Strake can play some football and anybody that tells you otherwise is flat out wrong.

"I've heard we might go into the Alief school district," Strake's head coach said. "That's a little too much competition for us."

Alief?

What about district 18-5A, with Houston Westbury and Worthing?

"Now that would be a pretty good district," Counter told IT.

You better believe it. And the schedule would call for a game between two schools (Westbury and Strake) featuring two of the hottest wide receiving prospects (Chris Ogbonnaya of Strake and Westbury's George Walker) not only in the Houston-area, but the state of Texas as a whole. There's also be an exciting showdown between Strake's Ogbonnaya and Houston Lamar's defensive back specialist Andrew Kelson.

Enough daydreaming, it's time to turn our attention toward Strake's exciting bluechip wideout, Chris Ogbonnaya, pronounced (Oh-b-neye-uh).

"He's 6-1, 200 pounds, runs a 4.5 forty," Counter said. "Probably has a vertical around 30 inches."

Asked to describe Ogbonnaya's game: "He can do it all... block kicks, return kicks, everything."

Weight room stats?

"Well, one of the things we lose as a private school is an athletic period, so we don't have any organized weight training and then these kids go straight from football into basketball and track," Counter explained. "But ballpark, I'd have to say Chris could bench 275, squat 350 and power clean 200."

Sophomore stats: 30 receptions, 600 yards (20 ypc) and 7 TDs, 10-11 TDs total on offense. As a corner, Ogbonnaya had 23 stops, 4 INTs, 2 PBUs, 1 FF, 1 FR and 1 BK (blocked kick).

Junior stats: 22 grabs, 481 yards, (20+ ypc) and 4 TDs. Also totaled 8 TDs, 397 yards on 44 carries, mostly coming on reverses. As a corner, Ogbonnaya notched 39 tackles, 4 PBUs, 3 FFs, 2 FRs and 1 BK.

"And he's on special teams," Counter said. "He was our kick and punt returner. He actually got the chance to return 13 kicks this past year. I was surprised he got that many. Even in our last game of the year, someone kicked him the ball and he ran it back to the 50. Chris ended the season with 445 yards on 13 kicks, averaging just above 34 yards a return. And nobody punts to him. He returned seven punts for 63 yards. Plus, was on both kickoff and punt coverage units."

Kid never left the field.

"No, he played both ways for us the whole game and was on every special teams unit," Counter told IT. "He's going to play quarterback this year. And he's going to score a lot of TDs. Probably should have played him more there this last year. Next year, he should probably score close to 20-30 TDs."

Will he play wideout or could he find himself at corner on the next level?

"Imagine he'll be a wide receiver in college," Counter said. "He's got big hands and catches everything. And he's been making plays since he was a sophomore."

College favorites: "Originally, he liked Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan and Texas," said Counter.

Scholarship offers: "Hasn't got any yet, but neither did Steve Hogan until the spring," said Strake's head coach. "But Texas, A&M, Notre Dame and Stanford have already been by the school."

Grades: 3.4 GPA, 1150 PSAT.

Counter said he has a few other senior-to-be prospects college programs may want to take a look at.

K/P Luke Juist has the leg to make 50-yarders and averaged over 40 yards per punt. Coach's Comment: "I'd be really surprised if he doesn't get a scholarship."

OT Ben Lemming, 6-4, 270, 5.4/5.5. Coach's comment: "We played him on the defense some, but he won't be fast enough to play as a defensive lineman in college. I think he's an offensive lineman. He could play anywhere on the offensive line, tackle, guard or center."

LB John Janifzewski, 6-0, 205, 4.7. Coach's Comment: "3-year starter for us. And he's a playmaker. Some coaches might think he's a little too small, but I know he can play. Should be a D-1 prospect."


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