By Sarah Grimmer
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
The road is good for a child of God.
And that's exactly how it is for Texas A&M freshman receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu. His name translates like this: Uzoma (the road is good) and Nwachukwu (child of God).
It hasn't taken long for Uzoma Nwachukwu (pronounced: ooh-ZOME-uh, WATCH-ah-coo) to win over his teammates, who take the easy way out by calling him "EZ." His hard work, determination and talent have helped earn Nwachukwu a starting spot and a key role in the Aggies' offense. Not bad for someone who preferred basketball and who didn't start playing football until moving to Allen, Texas in seventh grade.
"My counselors really encouraged me to give football a try and once I did, I had a lot of fun playing it and I wanted to continue playing," he said.
And his senior season, he was a member of Allen High School's first state championship team as the school captured the Texas 5A Division I championship.
"It was just like a movie," Nwachukwu said. "Everything was perfect. Even though it was a long season, I had some great times with the guys and it was a dream come true. It showed that hard work pays off."
College recruiters spotted his athletic talent and the college recruiting process began. He had several schools wanting to welcome him into their program.
"Everywhere I looked, whether it was Texas, OU, Norte Dame, every school just fell second to A&M," Nwachukwu said. "I immediately felt comfortable here, I really just felt at home. Coach (Mike) Sherman and I sat down and he told me how he wanted to really make some changes and how I would be a instrumental part of that change and ultimate success."
Nwachukwu has started every game. Heading into Saturday's game at Oklahoma he has 29 receptions for 597 yards (20.6 yards per catch) and a team-leading six touchdowns. Against Utah State, the touched the ball four times ... and scored four touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing).
"I just want to contribute anyway I can whether it's to get us to a bowl game or for us just to do the best we can," he said.
Nwachukwu's older brother Chima is a safety at Washington State. Watching Chima go through the college football recruiting process was a huge help to Uzoma last year. Chima is not only a big brother but a mentor and a friend.
"Being experienced, he gives me advice on how to handle things and certain situations," Nwachukwu said. "He always calls me before and after every game and we talk regularly about our different experiences and schools."
Nwachukwu smiles when asked if football runs in his family. His early success at the college level has him considering his chances of playing in the NFL.
"I would definitely love to pursue a career in professional football but I know it depends on two things: what I do here at this level and what God has in store for me," he said.
Things are looking up for Nwachukwu , especially after he scores a touchdown. He points to the sky, an example of how he incorporates his religion into football and the importance of his faith. He was raised in a Christian-based home.
"My mom raised me to always pray and to put things in God's hands; He will lead you through anything that happens," Nwachukwu said. "This is something I strongly believe in, especially having the name that I do so I always make sure to pray the night before a game, before I step on the field and after I step off the field."
While his faith has been his rock during his freshman season, having high school teammate and his best friend as his roommate also has helped. Steven Terrell is a freshman defensive back on the A&M team.
"Having my best friend Steven here is cool but I love the entire team," Nwachukwu said. "We always have fun together whether it's at practice or just hanging out. Everyone is really close."
Junior quarterback Jerrod Johnson helped Nwachukwu make the transition. Johnson helped the freshman receiver with the A&M play book, the intricacies of the pass routes and told Nwachukwu to "get ready for the fire."
"The way he prepares every day, his attitude, and leadership is something that has really caught my eye," Nwachukwu said of Johnson. "The real difference (from high school to college) is the size and speed. Everybody s going to be really fast and big but when it comes down to it, football is football. You have to remind yourself of that and just go ahead and play it."
Sounds 'EZ' enough, right?