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Chidobe Awuzie on DB influences, 'Madden' and more

NFL Media's Oklahoma Drill series presents exclusive, quick-hitting one-on-one interviews with players and coaches from around the league. No nonsense -- just football experiences directly from the source.

Chidobe Awuzie

Cornerback, Colorado

Born: May 24, 1995

Experience: 2017 NFL Draft prospect

Interview by Brooke Cersosimo | April 10, 2017

Being a sleeper or whatever, that's one thing. But for Ike Taylor, him as a player to recognize my game. I read [the article] and I think he compared myself to him. I feel like he epitomizes the swag of a defensive back and how you gotta be mentally and prepare for the game. Just for him to mention my name in any kind of article, that's an honor.

I don't model my game after anybody. But growing up, I was able to watch players like Charles Woodson, Brian Dawkins and Darrelle Revis. Those are three players that I've really studied a lot. I try to take pieces from each one of them to kind of become my own player.

Brian Dawkins -- he was a big, emotional leader for the team. You could tell what kind of person he was just from him playing on the field and the way he played the game. Charles Woodson's versatility and ability to play anywhere and lock up and blitz and do all of that kind of stuff. Then Darrelle Revis and his patience. He has such great patience at the cornerback position, which I think helped him lock down so many of the NFL's great receivers. All three of those guys, I've tried to look at and take a piece from their games.

All I know is, this is the NFL now, and everybody is good. I'm a humble guy, and I know certain people have reached the status of being the top receivers and stuff. I know I'm not there yet. I know I have work to do, and I'll always respect whoever I go against. Whoever it is, I'll be happy to match.

**As a kid, I was always a bandwagon fan].** Whoever I could play good in "Madden" with, that was the team I had. When the [Eagles had Michael Vick, I was using them. When New Orleans won the championship, I was using them. I was always bouncing around. Back then, I was a real good bandwagon [fan]. Now I just watch players.

Raiders and Niners is a big rivalry in [my hometown of] San Jose and the whole Bay Area. I was raised around them, and I've always supported those two teams. Whatever team does good, I'm always happy, because then some of my family is happy, too.

That would be a blessing, just to play close to home. I don't want to choose where I want to go, but those two teams are definitely teams I watched growing up and am familiar with. My parents and my family and the people around me would be happy if I went to one of them.

I just got back from a visit with the Cowboys. I'm going to visit with Tennessee, and at this point, I've had either workouts or visits with at least 20 teams.

When you watch the [NFL Scouting Combine] on TV, you think that it's just the running and probably do a couple of interviews. But I was actually there four days before I ran and did all my drills that everybody saw on TV. You have to do medical and drug tests, interviews with psychologists and head coaches, you get to see coaches face to face. I didn't really know that we did all of this stuff until I started preparing for the combine.

Colorado has a history. In the 1990s, they won national championships and they were winning back-to-back bowl games and stuff like that. That's one of the main reasons players like me went to Colorado, was to kind of restore that [tradition]. Hopefully now in years to come, they start winning and become a powerhouse.

I don't think [going to Colorado] hurts my draft stock. The team doesn't define the player. I feel like the player defines the team. Since I've been there, I've changed the culture with my class. I feel like that speaks a lot.

I feel like I'm a winner, first and foremost. It doesn't matter where I play -- special teams, defense, offense -- it doesn't matter. I'm going to get the job done.

Position-wise, I see myself playing defensive back, obviously. I've always wanted to be in the Hall of Fame, and that's what's been guiding me so far.

My versatility, by far. I think I lead all defensive backs [in this draft class] in sacks, tackles, am top-five in forced fumbles, top-five in passes defended. So I've pretty much done it all. I feel like if teams really dig into the film, they'll see that. They can line me up anywhere, and I also think I'm the smartest defensive back in this draft. When it comes down to it, if there's a technique we need to learn or a defense we need to learn, I'm going to be the most prepared and make sure heading into that week that I'm ready to prepare.

[Nelson Mandela] was definitely a pioneer for Africa and helping people out there. But also I watched his movie with my parents and saw his impact. They also taught me about him. I definitely have recognized his contributions to Africa and America, and his ideals really reasonate with me, as well with how to treat people.

Honestly, I don't know how they came up with [my name]. Most Nigerian names have something to do with God. The "Chi" in my name means God. Then my full name, Chidobe, means God will protect me and guide me in crisis. My brother has a similar name where God is guiding him, and my sister's is similar. So it's pretty much all centered around that.

Off the field, I like to whip my agents and friends in ping-pong all the time. That's one of my main [hobbies]. Also, I like video games and try new stuff outside.

I say that if you're good [at "Madden"], you try to use different teams, so I do that. If I have to go random just to make it a game with somebody, that's what I do.

The NFL has always been my dream. But it started being an actual goal my sophomore year in high school. I had great coaches and great mentors. They taught me how to be humble about my game. They taught me how to work outside of the regular practices and weight lifting. I started setting my focus to becoming this, and I haven't expected anything less of myself ever since then. I never had any Plan B until I got to college. But it's always been my dream, and now it's really in my face. I'm blessed to be here.

I think a lot of people tend to forget their "why." But I always remember the people who have helped me, especially my parents and all of my close friends that I have to this day.

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