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Jeff Kolpack, Published August 01 2012

Bison football boasts results of Arizona inroads

Fargo - It was a frightening first few moments in life for Chuks Amaechi, whose face was blue as the result of the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck four times. It’s how he got his name.

His full name is Chukwuma, which is Nigerian for “God only knows.”

“My dad named me that because God only knows why I was brought to this earth and am still alive,” he said.

Chuks got the full story of his birth the night before he left for college at North Dakota State in early July. It was an emotional account.

It’s a long way from Avondale, Ariz., but two other Bison recruits from the state helped bridge the gap of unfamiliarity. Amaechi, defensive tackle Austin Farnlof and safety Marcus Brantley are part of NDSU’s freshman class that checked into the dormitories on Wednesday.

Practice for the defending Division I Football Championship Subdivision champions begins today.

The Arizona recruits represent the second straight year NDSU plucked players from there. All three come highly touted after playing together in the Arizona vs. Southern California All-Star game.

“We hang out all the time now,” said Brantley, from Mesa, Ariz. “If we didn’t have each other, I feel like we would be homesick, so it’s a big part having those two here.”

They were familiar with each other in high school. Amaechi’s Westview High team, for instance, beat Farnlof’s Boulder Creek team in the first round of the playoffs the last three years.

“Chuks has a motor on him,” Farnlof said.

But they got to know each other during their recruiting visit at NDSU and then roomed together during the All-Star week. Arizona won 21-16.

All three had similar college looks. Northern Arizona and Montana was a finalist for Brantley. Montana offered Amaechi. It was going to be NAU or NDSU for Farnlof, who also visited South Dakota State.

Boise State was interested in Brantley, “but they weren’t in the mix as much as everybody thought,” he said. Amaechi said the University of Arizona and San Diego State wanted him to wait until after signing day before making a decision.

“But I talked to my parents and they didn’t want to wait,” he said.

There is no air conditioning in the NDSU dorms, so heat will have to be tolerated. Besides, all three say they’re ready for what’s to come in the northern plains.

“If us three weren’t together, it would be different,” Brantley said. “All three of us will be suffering in these winters together. We’re prepared now mentally. We’ll be ready.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

Kolpack is the host of the WDAY Golf Show Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 970-AM.