Parenting in the Ukandu household meant reluctantly accepting the inevitable demise of the living room furniture. Everything — table, chair, whatever — was susceptible to a wayward brother, sent flying by another misplaced game of one-on-one tackle football. Or wrestling. Or whatever.
Lucky for the Ukandus, those brothers quickly discovered an outlet for all that living room aggression, transferring their intensity onto the football field, unleashing hell on actual opponents. Anything to save the immobile and defenseless drywall from more holes.
Azubuike Ukandu was a lightly recruited defensive tackle from Towson High School who chose Maryland over offers from Old Dominion and Bryant. He spent last fall redshirting for the Terrapins. His younger brother — and partner-in-crime — Chibuzo is a rising senior at Baltimore’s Gilman School, high on Maryland yet still seeking a scholarship offer to make everything official.
At 6 feet 3 and 250 pounds, the younger Ukandu stood out because of his size alone during Gilman’s first summer workouts early Monday morning. He plays on both the offensive and defensive line, but projects at the latter at the college level.
Though Coach Randy Edsall hasn’t extended an offer yet, Ukandu hopes one will come when he camps at Maryland this summer, date currently unknown. Ukandu also plans to attend camps at Rutgers, Virginia and Pittsburgh. Tulane and Charlotte are his only offers.
“I’m not sure which date I’ll go yet, but I’ll definitely be down there soon,” Ukandu said. “They want to see. They saw my film, they liked what they saw, but they just want to see me in person.
“I like it. I think they’ll be real good in the future. They have a lot of big recruits coming in the future.”
Ukandu, barring some meteoric senior year rise, won’t likely count among those big-name recruits, but he could help round Maryland’s Class of 2014 with a strong, well-coached worker, further tapping into that potential Gilman pipeline. Two higher-profile classmates — defensive end Melvin Keihn and cornerback Troy Vincent Jr. — are currently considering the Terps, and two former teammates — quarterback Shane Cockerille and running back Kenneth Goins Jr. — are already in College Park.
Azubuike has lent a guiding hand through the search process, serving as a brother foremost and a Maryland pitchman second.
“Just get to know the coaches, get to know the positives and negatives about every program,” Chibuzo said of the advice received. “Just imagine if you can be there for the next four years.
“We’re real close. Every time I ask about Maryland, he tells me what I need to know. It’s great to have him on the team. They’re the home school. My mom wants me to go there.”
Then, he’ll be close enough to their Maryland home, yet far enough away that the walls and furniture can breathe easy.