When the name Chimdi Chekwa was announced during fourth-round coverage of the NFL Draft on Saturday, there was one person who was almost as excited and just as proud.
"I really thought he should have gone earlier," East Ridge coach Bud O'Hara said, after realizing a coaching dream of having a former player drafted to the NFL. "I feel great. It's exciting. My first one in 40 years of coaching."
Ah, but hold on, Coach O.
With the 237th selection overall, another former East Ridge player, linebacker Greg Lloyd Jr., was drafted out of UConn by the Philadelphia Eagles.
"We were hoping and praying," O'Hara said after calling back a second time to announce Lloyd's draft status. "We were talking to him a month ago and he wasn't sure. He got hurt his senior year, so he didn't have a great senior year.
"It was so important to me that Greg get a chance because he tore his knee up, I think he hurt it in spring last year, then there was rehab and more rehab ... I think they were going to redshirt him, but they had some people get hurt and had to play him, but he's fine now. He's ready."
Chekwa, a cornerback, was taken as the 113th overall pick by the Oakland Raiders after five years at Ohio State, which included a red-shirt season.
"People didn't think he could play out of high school, either, but you see what he did in becoming an all-American at Ohio State," O'Hara said. "He only had one offer and that school backed off. But it just so happened that he was playing in an all-star game and a coach from Ohio State saw him in practice, saw him run, saw him break on the ball and he immediately called his head coach (Jim Tressel)."
He's always been fast, and the Raiders were looking specifically for fast corners in this draft. Chekwa showed his speed at the NFL Combine, running one of the fastest times in pre-draft testing with a 40-yard-dash time of 4.38 seconds.
Oakland also drafted Miami corner DeMarcus Van Dyke, from Miami Monsignor Pace, on Friday night, one round prior to landing Chekwa in Saturday's fourth round.
"He's just got so much character it's unbelievable. His faith is strong. He's a strong-willed kid," O'Hara said of Chekwa. "He never played football before he got to us, but he worked hard and deserves everything he's gotten. He came in as a sophomore, if I remember right, and moved up to varsity at some point during the season."
O'Hara actually got a call into his former star right after he was selected.
"I got to share five or 10 seconds with him and got to tell him how much he means to me and what a reflection it is for our school," O'Hara said. "He's a great kid, so unselfish. Every time he comes back here, he always talks to our kids."
And O'Hara speaks about Lloyd in the same way. Lloyd has a pedigree. He is the son of former NFL All-Pro of the same name, the Steelers defensive icon who also played for the Dolphins.
The younger Lloyd made a name for himself at UConn. The 6-foot-1, 247-pounder runs a 4.8 40 and has a 32-inch vertical leap. He started the first 10 games of his career at UConn. In 2009, he was second on the team in tackles with 90, and had 15 tackles in one game against Pitt.
"I saw him the other day and he said the next time I saw him he would be an NFL inductee and sure enough," O'Hara said. "I'm so thankful that he gets a chance. He has the same character as Chimdi, their faith is the same ... truly a blessing to me and above all, it's a blessing what it says for our school.
"Not a whole lot of high schools can say they had two [draft picks] in one year, and that strictly has nothing to do with me ... the good lord working his ways."Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com.