Nigerian-native, OU signee Chuka Ndulue got a late start in football

BY DAVID UBBEN, Staff Writer, dubben@opubco.com Published: February 3, 2010

NORMAN — First things first. It's pronounced CHOO-ka En-DOO-lee. And if Chuka Ndulue's career is anything like another notable defensive lineman with a unique name, he'll have quite the career at Oklahoma.

Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh's name is of Cameroonian origin, but the Heisman finalist was born in Oregon.

Ndulue, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end from Dallas, came to America from Nigeria in the seventh grade and didn't play football until the ninth grade.

Unhappy with the effect it had on his grades, his parents made him sit out his sophomore season before Ndulue returned to the field as a junior and caught the eye of the Oklahoma coaches.

"He was always in love with OU," said Bob Wunderlick, Ndulue's high school coach at Jesuit. "That was always his dream school."

Though Rivals.com rates him as just the No. 57 recruit in Texas, the potential he showed in spite of his limited experience playing the game may have helped him earn a spot in Oklahoma's 2010 recruiting class.

"He wasn't really anything special as a ninth grader, but he began to grow and fill out," Wunderlick said. "He really came out of nowhere. After the first week of spring practices his junior year, I called (former OU defensive ends coach) Chris Wilson. Chris showed up, then Brent Venables, and they just fell in love with him."

They know how to pronounce Ndulue's name. Once he's on the field, he'll try to make sure Sooner fans know, too.



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