Alex Tchangam / Courtey photo
Although he doesn’t really have a connection to the state of Colorado, Alex Tchangam frequently wears Denver Broncos gear.
“I’m not a Broncos fan, but my favorite player is Von Miller,” Tchangam said of the Broncos’ star outside linebacker. “That’s who I really look up to.”
A sophomore at De Anza (Calif.) College, Tchangam is hoping Division I schools, including Colorado, see some Von Miller-like qualities in him as he goes through the recruiting process.
A 6-foot-3, 260-pound outside linebacker, Tchangam is not only built like Miller, but had a Miller-like impact on the De Anza defense. He earned all-conference honors this past season after racking up 69 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12 ½ sacks.
Now, Tchangam, who is still a newcomer to the sport, is drawing plenty of attention and he will be in Boulder this weekend for an official visit.
Tchangam got his first scholarship offer on Tuesday, from Kansas. By Wednesday evening, he had also received offers from Florida Atlantic, Portland State and New Mexico State. Several others schools, including UCLA, have expressed interest.
Tchangam doesn’t have an offer from CU, but hopes to get one this weekend on his visit.
“I would say Colorado is really the No. 1 school that’s really interested in me,” Tchangam said. “They’re just looking for someone who can come in and just do what’s asked to do; someone who can get the job done.”
The Buffs could certainly use Tchangam’s pass-rushing skills. They generated just 1.58 sacks per game last season, ranking 102nd nationally. Although the Buffs’ 2018 recruiting class is nearly full, they are expected to add a couple more players, and Tchangam is one possible addition.
CU tight ends coach Gary Bernardi has led the recruiting effort with Tchangam, who took an unofficial visit to Boulder in December. Expected to graduate with his associate degree in June, Tchangam has three years to play two seasons, and he’s eager this weekend to see if CU will be his next destination.
“When I come out there this weekend, what I’m really looking for is to meet all the coaches, because I haven’t met all the coaches,” he said. “The ones I’ve met have really helped me a lot and they’re great people. I definitely want to see more of the campus, because I didn’t really get to see all of it (in December).”
For Tchangam, this is the next step in what has been an unconventional path through football.
A native of Cameroon, in Central Africa, Tchangam and his family moved to the United States when he was in elementary school.
“It was just a better living situation and more opportunities,” he said.
Tchangam grew up playing soccer and never played football until he got to De Anza in the fall of 2016. While at Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek, Ga., Tchangam said academic troubles prevented him from playing football.
“I always wanted to play football in high school, but I always had academic problems,” he said. “I knew the next step was to take the JUCO route.”
A friend of his went to De Anza to play basketball and Tchangam followed him and joined the football team.
“Getting out of high school, I learned my lesson,” he said. “It was definitely time for me to grow up. Taking the JUCO route has definitely helped me mature as a person and I can’t make the same mistakes again.
“This is basically the last shot. My parents are supporting me. I just can’t make the same mistakes again. I have way too many people counting on me.”
Tchangam realizes that his lack of experience and past academic troubles could prevent some schools from even looking his way, but he’s ready for the opportunity that does come his way.
“Whoever gives me a shot, I’m going to show them exactly what I have, and I’m going to be the best player I can be for that program,” he said.
If that goes well, perhaps he’ll join Miller in the NFL one day.
“It’s definitely a great sport and I’m trying to make it to the NFL,” he said. “That’s the goal. I just love the game a lot.”
Linebacker Joshka Gustav, who signed with CU in December, will be in Boulder this weekend on an official visit, as well. … According to 247Sports.com, the Buffs will also have former Virginia Tech running back Travon McMillian in for a visit this weekend. A grad transfer who has one year to play, the 6-foot, 210-pound back rushed for 2,153 yards in his career with the Hokies, including 1,043 yards as a freshman in 2015.