It's early in the recruiting process for Grandview High School (Aurora) junior Chukwuma Obinnah, but the in-state running back says he has the Buffaloes near the top of his list.

Obinnah, a 6-foot, 210-pound 2015 CU target with an electric 4.39 40-time spoke with BuffZone regarding his recruitment, junior season and love for the state of Colorado.

Contrary to what he might have read on the Internet -- Portugal, Ireland -- Obinnah's name comes from Nigeria.

"It's Nigerian. My parents named me after a really good friend of theirs," he said

"My mom was born in L.A., California, but she lived in Nigeria most of her life. My dad was born and raised in Nigeria and moved to America with my mom."

Obinnah moved around some as his father began his medical career, with the family finally settling in the Aurora area.

"We used to live in New York -- that's where me and my sister were both born in New York. My dad was doing some doctor business up there; I think he was finishing school, starting off with his first job. After that he got another job as a main doctor in a little hospital in Stonewall, Colorado," he said.

"Tiny town; not a lot of people. That's where my brother was born; he was the last of the children. Then after a couple of years my dad moved out here, to Aurora, and he started at a big hospital. Then he moved on and now he owns his own practice, Green Valley Ranch."


Obinnah's sister, Adaeze, is a freshman basketball player at Rice in Houston. Chukwuma plans to study journalism or pre-law to get ready for law school.

Follow in his father's medical footsteps?

"No, that's my brother. I'm more of a writer," he said.

The speedster from Aurora's prep career hit a snag early as he broke his ankle as a sophomore at Regis Jesuit High School.

He later transferred to Grandview and rumbled for 1,123 yards on 166 carries with 11 touchdowns and a throwing TD as a junior, even though he missed the first four games per CHSAA rules.

Chukwuma Obinnah
Chukwuma Obinnah (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

"My sophomore year, I broke my ankle when I was at Regis during the second game," Obinnah said. "So I've missed out on a lot of the college stuff.

"I started on varsity at Regis my sophomore year, but after I broke my ankle I didn't play at all obviously, so I missed out on a lot of opportunities. We're just trying to catch up with colleges and stuff and doing that right now."

If you're wondering, the ankle is great.

"The ankle is absolutely fine. It's perfect now; absolutely no problems with it, so that's wonderful. (I) tore ligaments off and the bone chipped, had to have screws in it for six weeks and they took the screws out and put a tightrope in and I'll have the tightrope in for the rest of my life, but it doesn't bother me," Obinnah said.

While it was tough sitting out four games, Obinnah made the best of his junior year on helping Grandview to a 7-5 record. The Wolves were eliminated in 5A's Elite Eight with a 13-9 loss to ThunderRidge on Nov. 16.

"First four games of the season, I was sitting on the sideline," he said.

"I knew that was going to be a penalty, so it wasn't a surprise to us. Me and my family and knew that God was going to take care of us however the season was going to go. And the season ended up turning out really well. We were just happy I got to play at all."

Grandview football coach John Schultz thinks highly of Obinnah's skills.

"He's a spectacular athlete who just keeps getting better and better every week," Schultz told The Denver Post in November. "He's also in better shape and he's very explosive. Sometimes he hits the hole faster than we can block it, which is part of the learning experience."

As a rising junior, Obinnah is hearing from a slew of colleges.

"A lot of Pac-12 schools like CU, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Oregon and then Boise State, CSU, Nebraska ... and Vanderbilt sent me a lot of letters," he said.

"CU is one of my top schools; I really like it. Went up for a couple games this year. I just love the environment, love the fans, love the stadium, love the coaches, too. I think if I'm going to stay in state, it's definitely where I'm going to go."

Obinnah has no offers to this point, but said he's in heavy contact with Colorado and Colorado State. He hears frequently from CU's Troy Walters and recruiting assistant Scott Unrein.

Obinnah is looking for a school strong in academics and in football.

"I'm looking for a good academic college, somewhere that has a football program with a head coach that I like, a good Christian head coach, and I saw that in CU's coach -- that's why I liked him a lot," Obinnah said.

"Players that I could learn from and experience from; teammates that would be family to me and be closer than just a football team."

The Colorado running back can see himself staying close to home when it comes time to pick a school.

"I wouldn't mind staying in state at all. I love Colorado. I've lived here pretty much my whole life and I've made so many friends. I actually have a lot of friends who go to CU -- I have one friend who is a freshman right now that redshirted ... Robert Orbin, he's a tight end," Obinnah said, adding he's friends through football with CU 2014 commit Evan White.

"Going there could kind be fun for me because I'd be staying in my home state where a lot of people know who I am. I just think it's cool to be where you know a lot of people. ... I just think the 'home feel' is cool; that's definitely a big part of where I'm going to go."

First comes the completion of his junior year and a senior football campaign. Obinnah said Grandview's coaching staff plans to use him as a safety as well as running back next season.

"My Grandview coaches think I'll be playing defense in college, which I would not be opposed to. I like playing defense," he said.

"I'm going to play both ways next year. We'll see what the college coaches want. Whatever they want I'll do; I'm not going to say no."

What position does he think he'll land at in college?

"My mom thinks I'm going to be 6-2. If I'm 6-2, I'll probably play linebacker. If I stay at 6, I'll probably play maybe safety or corner or something."

Obinnah will be at CU's Junior Day on Feb. 22 and is letting the recruiting process pan out for a while before he whittles his list down. He said one school is likely to remain near the top throughout.

"I like the West Coast, I like warm areas, so that's why I'm thinking a lot of California schools. But I do love Colorado, I've fallen in love with the snow."

"I know CU is always going to be up there because they're one of my favorite schools right now," Obinnah said.

Obinnah's Hudl highlights are available here.