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November 27, 2013

First BCS offer for Choudja comes from ASU

It didn't take long for Arizona State to make its move on Oakley (Calif.) Freedom High defensive end Patrick Choudja.

Less than one week after striking up dialogue with Choudja, the Sun Devils offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-4, 230 pounder. It became his first offer from a BCS school, joining Idaho, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State, UC-Davis and Wyoming.

The ASU staff was alerted to the play of Choudja as a senior, as he finished the season with 73 tackles and 14 sacks.

It was an offer Choudja had been praying for since he was a sophomore and happened to catch an ASU game on television by chance.

"I was watching college football on a Thursday and Arizona State was playing someone, I don't know who," Choudja said. "But just the crowd, I was like, man. It was probably the best school I've ever seen on television college wise. The fans were great, the environment was great, I said to myself I would love if they offered me a scholarship and thank God, they are recruiting me today and I just have to take my official there and see what happens."

Choudja said he's spoken with ASU assistants Chris Ball and Jackie Shipp in recent days and after verifying his grades and stature with Choudja's high school coach, the Sun Devils upped the ante.

"I want to see [ASU] first," Choudja said, when asked if he considered a commitment. "I don't think it would be clever for me to commit. I need to take my official there. My mom said before you make any decision, make sure you see it for yourself in person. Check out the classes, the campus, the coaches and players, if they are approachable. But I love them, it's a great school, going to the (Pac-12) Championship game. I can't wait to go there and see it."

No official visit has been set yet but Choudja said he'll trip to Tempe and take some additional visits. Boise State, Cal and Washington State are also in contact but Choudja said he doesn't want to take a visit to a school that hasn't offered a scholarship.

"Right now I'm evaluating the options, looking at all the schools, really trying to find out where I will be able to best take my play to the next level, where I will be successful, basically," he said. "Not just football but with my background, education comes first. The best educational situation will be very important in the decision."

Choudja said he started playing football as a 6-foot-3, 185 pound sophomore and didn't know the rules or anything about the game. His coach at the time put him on scout team defensive end in practice and he quickly found a home.

"First play I hit this [running back] head to heart, the kid fell, he was a senior and I was a sophomore, he really fell hard, and the coach was like whoa," Choudja said. "He said to do it again, I did it again and he said, 'I think we found you a spot.'"

In the next two years, Choudja grew an inch an gained 45 pounds, really coming into his own as a senior at Freedom due to a new position coach helping with his technique and fundamentals.

"I started playing with a chip on my shoulder and felt like I'm one of the best in California," he said. "I think I had a really good senior season and can still get a lot better."


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