Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nwankwo is Number Ten | by Pat

The recruit tally hit double digits as Florida offensive lineman Emeka Nwankwo gave his commitment to Notre Dame and became the 10th member of the class of 2007. For Emeka, ND wasn't as close to home as some of his other choices, but it was just the right fit.

"After my trip to Notre Dame, I was really impressed," Nwankwo said. "It isn't just the football, it's the academics as well. They're the highest level you can get and I feel like I fit in perfectly with that system."
Emeka, like Sam Young and Dan Wenger, hails from Broward County, but isn't from the same program as the Irish freshman. Still, it is interesting to see the Irish making inroads into the Florida recruiting scene and coming out with offensive lineman, rather than skill position players. Then again, that Jeff Faine guy turned out all right and Young certainly has a bright future, so I don't have a problem with that.

The big test when it comes to Florida recruits is if they get offered by the power home state schools. In Nwankwo's case, he was offered by Florida State and Florida, although it seems that Florida tried to put him in a bit of a holding pattern while waiting out the decisions of other recruits. Out of state, Auburn, Georgia, and Virginia also wanted the lineman out of Hollywood, Florida. The recruiting sites have him as a solid 4-star ( / 3-star ( kind of guy.

At 6-5, 265 pounds, Nwankwo isn't just going to walk into ND and battle for a starting spot. It will probably take him a year or so to add some weight to his frame in order to take the physical abuse from opposing defensive lines. Emeka is listed as a tackle/guard, but my guess is that he will wind up at guard at ND. According to the online reviews of his game, as well as recent quotes from his head coach, his strengths are his athleticism and quickness.
"His biggest quality is he's an athlete playing offensive line," Chaminade-Madonna coach Mark Guondolo said. "I just think to have an offensive lineman with great athletic ability is huge. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but those things will happen. It's tough to teach athleticism."
And while you might think that all coaches talk up their star players, opposing high school coaches have noticed Nwankwo as well.
They have a big lineman (Emeka Nwankwo), who is 6-4, 290 pounds and as athletic as any offensive lineman I've seen all year."
Now, considering that we're talking about south Florida football, I'd like to think that that is one heck of a compliment.

The OL still needs additional bodies this year, but Emeka and Andrew Nuss are a very solid first two steps. Slowly but surely, the Irish offensive line depth chart is on its way back from the brink of disaster.