Football was a late addition to Chidera Uzo-Diribe's life. He grew up playing baseball and basketball but football was something that didn't garner his interest until the season before his junior year of high school. At that time he was pulled to the side by a coach at Corona High School in Corona, California and told the sport could help him get his college paid for. Uzo-Diribe gave it a shot his junior year and proved the coach right in just two seasons of high school football.
Chidera Uzo-Diribe was immediately thrown into the fire seeing playing time in all 12 games as a true freshman for the 2010 Colorado Buffaloes. He played in just 148 snaps or around a dozen a game, but was a force on third downs and pressuring the quarterback. He has continued to improve his sack total every year going from 3.5 his freshman year to 5.5 in his sophomore campaign to 7 his junior season. While he currently only has 2 sacks for the season, he has been a force that have forced other teams to double team him and play call away from his side of the line.
Uzo-Diribe has played in every Buffs game in his three and a half seasons at Colorado. He sits alone at number 11 for career sacks with 17. He only needs to add two more to get to 8th on that list. Uzo-Diribe is a forced fumble away from joining the greats of Brian Cabral and Barry Remington for the career lead in forced fumbles. Half of his forced fumbles have come during the 2013 campaign where he has taken the coaching of the new staff and utilized it well. Mike MacIntyre, defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat and the staff focus on turnovers and it has shown as a defensive unit, with Uzo-Diribe being the main force on the fumble front.
Uzo-Diribe has been the main force on a very inexperienced defensive line, trying to create plays and cause havoc in the backfield as a senior captain. He has had to fight through a tackle only to have a running back chip off and beat him in order to get near the quarterback. He has continually stopped many third downs in his career, but has stepped it up even further this year. The sport he picked up to pay for his college may very well pay for part of his future with the NFL a still legitimate opportunity.
Uzo-Diribe has NFL blood from Osi Umenyiora, a cousin of Chidera's, whom has had a solid 11-year NFL career and has had multiple double digit sack total years as a player. Uzo-Diribe is picked amongst the Top 15 NFL Draft prospects at the defensive end position. His size is very fitting for a 3-4 NFL defensive scheme and has a similar build to Colorado football alum Brad Jones, though he is already larger than Jones ever was at Colorado and is today. Should Uzo-Diribe have solid numbers at the combine, he very well could push himself into a 2nd day selection with the DE/OLB pass rush hybrid being a very valued commodity in the NFL game.
Uzo-Diribe is still soaking in the game of football and you can see improvement every year. While his sack numbers are not where you'd hope, the inability to get any pressure from the other side of the ball has really kept Uzo-Diribe from being more of a force than he already is. Even with that his tackles for loss and forced fumbles have been a bright spot on a very underwhelming defensive front. Uzo-Diribe's name will be amongst the Top 15 defensive ends in Colorado football history when his career ends and like many in those ranks should have his name on an NFL roster come this time next year.