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Continued: Cretin-Derham Hall's Onwualu won’t be outworked, his admirers say.

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 26, 2013 - 7:59 PM

Following Floyd’s path Notre Dame’s new prize doesn’t hesitate to include his name among Minnesota’s elite wide receivers. Onwualu seized the opportunity to work out with and get to know Arizona Cardinals receivers Larry Fitzgerald Jr., who attended Holy Angels, and Floyd. The pair often train with Johnson, where Onwualu observes and learns.

Floyd and Onwualu’s similarities have developed a deep respect for one another. Both were standout receivers at the private Catholic school in St. Paul and both decided to continue their careers at Notre Dame. Floyd left behind a long list of accomplishments for Onwualu to consider.

Though he said he didn’t want to get stuck in Floyd’s shadow in South Bend, Onwualu plans to break every record (six total) his mentor set in college. That means he will need to earn a starting job a freshman.

“Working with him you see a talent that you don’t see very often. He has the mentality to keep going and not stop,” Floyd said. “I had in my head I wanted to go there and be a special player, and I think he has that same idea in his head. You always have to be competitive to get somebody better. If that’s his goals in his head to surpass my stats at Notre Dame, more power to him.”

Hello, Golden Dome

Onwualu watched from the doorstep of his family’s home on Cretin Avenue as a car full of boxes pulled away and departed for Indiana on Jan. 11. That night before he left town, he spent time with close friends and his mother, Ann Perry. He dominated the conversation as he toyed with one of the many footballs laying around his house.

Eventually he made his way to a goodbye party.

Two days later, he sat in a lecture hall with college students. A fellow football player saved him from eating his first college lunch alone. But this is what Onwualu wanted. As he watched Notre Dame fall hard to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, his sense of urgency to get to work increased

. He took coach Brian Kelly’s postgame comments, of the Irish still being a step away from greatness, as a call for Onwualu to do more.

“We know there are more steps to be taken to get this done. It’s an awakening for us,” Onwualu said. “I truly believe I’m one of the best in the country and can earn a spot.”

Jason Gonzalez • 612-673-4494 • Twitter: @JGonStrib

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  • Trainer Ted Johnson watched as James Onwualu worked out in Minneapolis last summer.

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