Hard-hitting Memorial Mustangs’ DB inked by D-I UTSA
|McAllen Mustangs safety Kelechi Nwachuku running the ball in a big victory against McHi last October. Nwachuku, a senior transfer from East Texas, played a key role in Memorial’s success. PHOTO BY THE MONITOR.
BY TJ GARCIA
McALLEN – Kelechi Nwachuku transferred to McAllen Memorial last winter already a heralded junior – a three-star recruit by most accounts and rising fast.
Because of grades and gridiron talents, nine universities pursued him including Columbia, Yale, Cornell, Princeton and Rice in addition to some Louisiana schools and the University of Texas-San Antonio.
In February, Nwachuku verbally committed to play football at UTSA, and then went out and got bigger, stronger and smarter and had a heck of a 2017 season with the Mustangs (163 tackles 2 INTs in a 9-3 season).
Today at 2:45 p.m. in the McAllen Memorial’s gym, he’s scheduled to sign a national letter of intent with the Roadrunners and will receive a scholarship to play football there. Wednesday marks the beginning of the NCAA’s three-day early signing period for FBS and FCS programs.
Even though he arrived in McAllen from Class 4A Hardin-Jefferson as a sure starter and big-time contributor coveted by D-I coaches, the 6-foot, 195-pound Nwachuku said he couldn’t be more appreciative of the coaching he received at Memorial.
|Nwachuku with UTSA Head Coach Frank Wilson.
“I don’t think any other group of coaches could have prepared me more for the collegiate level then our coaching staff,” said Nwachuku. “From top to bottom, each guy is so unique in there teachings, and I took something from each and everyone of them.”
Memorial Coach Bill Littleton has been at the Mustangs’ helm for 15 seasons and has a crack staff of assistants that have built the Mustangs into the most consistent RGV football program over that time.
In choosing UTSA, Nwachuku signs on with an up-and-coming program that while it only went 6-5 in 2017, the Roadrunners scored important wins over Baylor, Texas State, Rice and Marshall. UTSA head coach Frank Wilson, a recruiting guru, is entering his third season and by all accounts is well liked and has the Roadrunners moving in the right direction.
UTSA, which plays its home games at the Alamodome and has a handful of RGV players on its roster, is also just four hours from 10th Street. Nwachuku said he chose UTSA because it had been with him “since the beginning” and believed in him.
“UTSA’s football program is poised for greatness in the near future,” said the senior. “They have the perfect blend of academics and athletics for me. Their incredible coaching staff is unmatched and that’s what set them apart.”
UTSA plays in Conference USA with schools such as UTEP, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech. In 2018, it will also face non-conference opponents Arizona State, Kansas State and Baylor.
In January, Nwachuku will begin workouts that UTSA coaches have their own players go through. Nwachuku will play safety in San Antonio, and he’s already the size of the safeties listed on the Roadrunners’ depth chart.
Nwachuku is a tall defensive back at over six feet. He’s a head hunter with terrific closing speed. Throw in his 4.4 time in the 40, football smarts and an innate ability to defend, and he’s set to make some waves for the orange and blue.
“My goal for UTSA is to come in and compete for a starting job my freshman year,” said Nwachuku. “I know everything is earned at this level and my goal is to be the hardest worker and the most prepared each week. My academic goal is to graduate with a 3.5 or higher.”
Changing campuses for the third time in three years is no biggie for Nwachaku. He remembers well where he’s from, he knows exactly where he’s going, and will always remember his time in McAllen.
“I will be forever thankful for Mustang Nation,” he said. “They opened their arms to me from the start and have showed nothing but love my entire time here.”
Watch Kelechi Nwachuku’s senior season highlights
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