10 Things You Might Not Know About Chidobe Awuzie, From His Name's Meaning To Love For A Cowboy Rival
BY SPORTS DAY
Here are 10 things you might not know about Chidobe Awuzie.
1. How to say his name
From the Colorado athletic website: Chih-doe-beh Ah-wooz-yeh
Even better, check out how he says it below.
2. What his name means
From a previous SportsDay article:
Chidobe means "for God to protect." Awuzie means "I have arrived."
"Being Nigerian, I feel like it's a very simple name," said Chidobe's mother, Victoria. "You can't say Chidobe? What the heck? I feel like people will get it the more they hear it pronounced."
Victoria's reasoning can be applied to one of her son's tweets, too. Two days after his rookie season started, Chidobe took to Twitter to say the following:
Daenerys Targaryen is a character on HBO's "Game of Thrones." An accurate description of her would take way too long to spell out, so we'll save you some time by saying you can click here to figure out who she is.
One of Awuzie's fans came up with a pretty clever response referencing the show.
3. His nickname
The Cowboys are drafting some prospects with some tasty nicknames. They've got Taco Charlton, and now Awuzie, who is nicknamed Chido.
4. Proud of where he's from
In a previous interview with SportsDay, Awuzie made it known he's proud of where he's from.
Awuzie's Twitter bio sums up how he sees himself: San Jose, CA...Nigerian. Dallas Cowboys DB.
He often wears a necklace that his cousins brought him from Nigeria. He has been there once, as a sophomore in high school. It was a defining trip for him.
"One of the best times in my life," he said. "I saw where my grandparents were from, where my bloodline was from, met a lot of family I'd never met. And just got to see the real culture and what it is to be Nigerian. That was a real coming to maturity, coming-to-being-a-man point in my life."
Awuzie highlighted an issue in Nigeria, the kidnapping of hundreds of Chibok schoolgirls, during the NFL's recent My Cause My Cleats campaign.
Every player has a reason for getting into football. For Awuzie, that reason was Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins.
"I looked up to Brian Dawkins when I was a little kid," Awuzie told CSN Philly. "He was one of the first players that really inspired me to play football and be great."
While going throughout his pre-draft visits, he actually got to meet Weapon X in Philadelphia.
"It was really cool," Awuzie told the Philly site. "He was one of the guys that made me love football."
Awuzie also admired Nnamdi Asomugha, a Nigerian player.
5. You didn't want to play with him as a kid
From The Denver Post's Nick Kosmider:
As a kid growing up in San Jose, Calif., Chidobe Awuzie was forbidden to take part in trampoline wrestling matches.
He wasn't supposed to join his peers in games of backyard football or engage in any other activities that might necessitate physical contact.
"I didn't get to really play with kids because I was too rough," said Awuzie, a senior defensive back at Colorado. "We'd play games, and they'd say I couldn't play with them because I was just going to hurt somebody."
Awuzie also mentioned using football as an outlet for his physicality to SportsDay's Brandon George.
"I was always breaking stuff when I was a kid, running into stuff, being too rough with my friends," Awuzie told SportsDay. "There were times they didn't want to play with me ... So it's kind of been in my nature, it still is in my nature, obviously. And football was a great way for me to get it out."
6. He lacerated his kidney
It happened right before his sophomore year at Colorado in a scrimmage. He said in the video below that he went up in the air for an interception, caught the ball and came down. When he hit the ground his elbow went into his side and lacerated his kidney.
"I'd wake up in the middle of the night not able to breathe for some reason," he said. "Probably went to the hospital at least 5-6 times."
7. He played a lot of positions in high school
Awuzie attended Oak Grove High School in San Jose, Calif. According to Brian Howell of Buffzone.com, Awuzie "ran for 1,285 yards, he caught seven passes, he picked off four passes, he blocked four kicks and he even played a little bit at quarterback."
To recap: he was a cornerback who also played running back, receiver, safety and quarterback. He had the nickname Mr. Versatility, according to The Mercury News' Darren Sabedra.
He was rated as a two-star prospect by 247Sports' composite rankings. He held offers from San Jose State, Washington State, Colorado State, San Diego State, Utah, Utah State and Wisconsin. He chose Colorado, obviously, and was there for four years.
9. His good character
The Mercury News' Darren Sabedra wrote in 2012 that Awuzie's high school teammates respected him highly. From Sabedra:
"He's like the best friend -- good grades, leads, breaks up fights if he sees them," running back/defensive back Nick Bernardo said. "He's like the person you think of when you think of the all-American stuff. He's like an extra coach on our team."
That extra coach brings high character to the field, Oak Grove coach Jay Braun said, and that rubs off on teammates.
"He brings guys up when they don't make a play. He gets on guys when they're not hustling," Braun added. "We've been very happy with him because usually somebody of his caliber at the high school level might have a tendency to want to drop off. 'I'm the star. I don't have to do this.' I'm real pleased with his attitude, and his work ethic."
10. Drew Pearson's legendary pick
Awuzie was the subject of Drew Pearson's epic troll of Philadelphia, the host city of the 2017 NFL draft.
Here's how SportsDay special contributor Rick Gosselin says the inception of Pearson's announcement came about:
Pearson was backstage for the first half of the round and heard former Giant Harry Carson get booed. He heard former Redskin Clinton Portis get booed. And he knew the Philadelphia fans would dial it up for him. This is a town that hates all things Dallas and Cowboys, and its fans have long memories. The Cowboys went 16-5 against the Eagles during Pearson's career.
Before he took the stage, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, himself the frequent target that night of those Philadelphia boos, told Pearson to have fun with it.
"We need to get the crowd riled up," Goodell said.
"Oh, I think they're already riled up," Pearson told Goodell.
"Oh, I think they're already riled up," Pearson told Goodell.
And they were.
"When I walked out, I just started feeling it," Pearson said. "The adrenaline was flowing."
Pearson walked to the lectern smiling, amid the expected boos. Then Goodell turned over the microphone to him to make the Cowboys' selection.
"All right -- how about them Cowboys?" said Pearson, lightly stoking the crowd.
"I want to thank the Eagle fans for allowing me to have a career in the NFL. Thank you."
Pearson than raised his fist, and the booing increased.
And, well, you know the rest.
Bonus. Some miscellaneous stuff
From Colorado's athletic website:
His hobbies include playing basketball, ping pong and video games and watching anime (Japanese cartoons). ... He has been active in community service in such areas as trash pickup, he has also volunteered at an area shelter, working with the homeless and indigent.