"I committed to Washington State," Chima Nwachukwu told Cougfan.com this morning. "I didn't need to keep the coaches waiting any longer, Rice's coaches or Washington State's. It just felt like the right thing to do, to commit to Washington State."
FOR THOSE OUTSIDE the Lone Star state who might not be familiar with prep football in Texas, and in particular the caliber of competition Allen and Nwachukwu faced this season in the 5A Region II District, Nwachukwu's position coach at Allen, Cade Smith, lends perspective.
"Over here at Allen, he was our best cover corner and you can just look at the guys he played against. We put him up this year against Malcolm Williams... James Kirkendoll... Krys Buerck... so those are just three games where week in, week out he went up against Division I receivers," said Smith.
Williams and Kirkendoll are both 4-star receivers verbally committed to Texas and rated No. 17 and No. 21 in the nation, respectively, while Buerck is a 2-star pledge to Baylor.
How did Nwachukwu fare against the pair of future Longhorns and the future Bear?
"He did fantastic," said Smith. They made their plays, too, they're Division I receivers. But he got the best of them a whole lot of times as well...Guys like him are easy to coach. And he likes the challenge week in and week out -- when I told him he was going to go against Malcolm Williams, he was fired up."
NWACHUKWU WILL BE getting a head start at WSU. Rather than arrive on the Pullman campus in August for fall camp, he has plans to enroll at WSU for one of the summer school sessions and join the team for voluntary workouts.
Fresh off an official visit to Rice this final weekend and after talking it over with his mom, Nwachukwu called Burtnett after the Super Bowl last night to give him the good news.
"He said he was proud of me, and that he was really excited in having me come in for summer school there -- he was really excited. I'm going up there for (in late June) and will start my classes then."
CORNERBACK IS ONE of the few positions conducive to a true frosh out of high school stepping in early than is, say, an offensive lineman or safety. Nwachukwu is rated a 2-star prospect but Smith says his size and ability to play the run are two factors working in his favor to earn early playing time at WSU.
"He's a bigger corner, he's not your typical smaller sized guy. He's strong as can be, benches over 300 pounds. He's difficult to block, you've got to try and put him on the ground if you're going to block him. He can sling a receiver all over the field," said Smith.
Nwachukwu is also an outstanding student and has achieved a qualifying score on the SAT.
"He's one of the top kids in his academic class," said Smith. "He's going to be someone to watch, he really is... he's ready to roll on the Division I level."
Nwachukwu was a unanimous all district 9-5A first team cornerback in 2006, and said the opportunity to take his game to the Pac-10 is something he relishes.
"I'm just excited -- I'm excited about the opportunity to play over there and we'll see where that goes," said Nwachukwu.
Chima Nwachukwu profile
CHIMA NWACHUKWU IS HEADING TO WASHINGTON STATE