Holy Cross wide receiver Michael Chigbu didn’t start playing football until his sophomore season.
And if you let him be perfectly honest, he was a work in progress.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Chigbu said. “It took me about a whole year to figure it all out. I had the hands and athletic ability, but it was a lot of the mental things and the small stuff that I had to learn.”
Fast forward to the present, and Chigbu, now a rising senior at Holy Cross, has blossomed into one of the most sought after receivers in the country. On Thursday night, he apparently brought his recruiting to a close when he verbally committed to play for the University of Georgia.
“I just felt like it was the place for me,” Chigbu said. “It was a good place to spend the next four years of my life and the place for my football career.”
Chigbu trimmed the list to Georgia and Texas A&M after originally cutting the list to those two schools plus UCLA and Arizona State.
“I really liked the coaches and how everything was detail, detail detail,” Chigbu said. “Coach (Mark) Richt is a very good coach who has been in the game for a long time.”
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Chigbu caught 48 passes for 785 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He averaged 16.4 yards per catch for the Tigers, who finished 9-3 and reached the semifinals of the Division I playoffs last season before losing to Byrd 14-10.
“I just want to do better than I did last year,” said Chigbu when asked about his goals for his senior season. “I felt I could have done a lot better.”
Eric Rebaudo, in his first season as head coach after spending the past 12 seasons as defensive coordinator, expects a big season from Chigbu.
“He was a basketball guy that came out for football,” Rebaudo said. “He has really excelled since he got on the field, and I think his best years are ahead.”
Rebaudo and the coaching staff knew right away that Chigbu had potential when he first stepped on the field two seasons ago.
“We thought we had a gem, but it was a raw one,” Rebaudo said. “He didn’t understand the game at first, but he caught on right away. The first thing that stands out is his size. He is going to be a matchup problem for most corners. But he also had that break away speed, that second gear that is just God given. He is very coachable, just a great kid who deserves everything he is getting.”
He is rated a four-star prospect and the No. 28 receiver in the country by 247, a national recruiting service.
Although signing day is more than six months away, Rebaudo expects Chigbu to stick to his commitment.
He can make his commitment official on Feb. 4.
“He is glad to have it off his chest,” Rebaudo said. “He is not one of those kids who wants a lot of attention. He just wants to make the right decision.”
Chigbu said he is solid about his decision. And he is even more certain about the decision he made two years ago when his football career began, pushing his baseball and basketball careers to the back seat.
“I guess it worked out pretty well,” he said. “I’m happy with it.”