Hours after Florida State won the BCS title game on Monday night, Holmes Onwukaife celebrated the victory in an FSU classroom.
Onwukaife, a former Cedar Park star, was on the sidelines for Florida State’s 34-31 win over Auburn, but he had to catch an early flight out of California on Tuesday in order to make an 8 a.m. real-estate class in Tallahassee. Not that he minded.
“First of all, I want to give all the credit to my teammates and (Florida State head coach) Jimbo Fisher,” Onwukaife said Tuesday. “Just to experience it and be part of something new… it was really special.”
A three-year letterman at Cedar Park, Onwukaife was a three-star prospect when he signed with Florida State in 2010. The 6-foot-2-inch, 245-pound linebacker also was a member of Fisher’s first signing class with the Seminoles.
Onwukaife redshirted in 2010, though, and four shoulder surgeries have kept him off the field. He was medically disqualified from playing football before the 2012 season.
“You think about it and miss it every day,” said Onwukaife, who will graduate this summer with an economics degree. “But I had to take a look at the long run.”
Onwukaife retained his scholarship, and he mentored freshman teammates during the summers. Onwukaife rooms with linebacker Christian Jones and wide receiver Christian Green, and he attended Florida State’s home games this season.
On Tuesday, Onwukaife downplayed his role on the team — “I don’t want to take the credit from the guys who have been grinding and putting the work in,” he said — but he remained proud of what the Seminoles had accomplished.
“I don’t think it will fully hit anyone until we’re fully Florida State alumni,” Onwukaife said. “We’ve all faced adversity, and my adversity might have been different than another person’s, but I’m just grateful that even though I’m not able to continue playing the game the love, I’m able to be a part of the program.”
Under the radar: Each week, we’ll introduce you to a player who is making big plays despite not having a big name. This week, we’re taking a look at Rouse seniors Mariah Merriweather and Baylee Peck.
Merriweather (13.6 points per game) and Peck (9.7 ppg) entered the week as Rouse’s top and third-leading scorers, and each player contributed 18 points in a 63-50 victory over Cedar Park on Tuesday. Rouse improved to 19-6 with the victory, and the Raiders are 6-0 in the District 25-4A girls basketball race.
Peck, a Utah State-bound guard, and Merriweather, a forward, were both freshmen on the Rouse team that won nine games during its inaugural Class 4A season. Rouse made its first appearance in the postseason in 2013, and the Raiders now are the only 25-4A team with an unblemished district record.
Where are they now: Every week, we will spotlight the collegiate accomplishments of a few of our area alums. If you know of someone who should be featured in this segment, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- New Mexico senior goalkeeper Michael Lisch (Westlake, 2008) recorded 45 saves this past season. Lisch led the Lobos to the semifinal round of the NCAA men’s soccer tournament in December.
- Prairie View A&M sophomore forward Karim York (Del Valle, 2011) has played in 10 of the Panthers’ 14 games this basketball season. He is averaging 5.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.