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Chidobe Awuzie hopes to make a name and a position for himself

At Colorado, Chidobe Awuzie started games at free and strong safety, in the slot and as an outside cornerback. Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire

FRISCO, Texas – Chidobe Awuzie just wants to please, however that may be for the Dallas Cowboys.

So how do you pronounce his name.

“Chih-doe-bay,” he said.

So much for the folks who kept calling him “Chih-doe-be.”

And the last name?

“Ah-wooz-yeh,” he said.

So much for those who threw an extra syllable in there with “Ah-wooz-ee-ay.”

Coach Jason Garrett, who loves to call players by their nicknames, is keeping it simple.

“Yeah, I think he’s tried to help a lot of people,” Garrett said. “I don’t even know what I’m going with yet. It’s kind of ‘Chido’ right now. I call him ‘33’ a lot, as well.”

While he hopes to settle the pronunciation of his first and last name, he hopes to show the Cowboys he can play anywhere in their secondary just as he did at Colorado. He started games at free and strong safety, in the slot and as an outside cornerback.

That multiplicity -- or position flex, as Dallas' coaches like to call it -- is what attracted the Cowboys to him with their second-round selection. The plan is to work Awuzie at outside cornerback first, but they don’t want to put limitations on him.

“Obviously, I feel like I can play all three at an elite level, so I think that’s one of the reasons they picked me – my versatility,” Awuzie said.

In order to play all three secondary positions, Awuzie has to be smart. He missed the first day of rookie minicamp to attend his graduation, but he studied the playbook on his iPad and when he returned to The Star the next day he was as up-to-date as he could be.

“I’ve got to get in my playbook, first off. If I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m not going to be confident, I’m not going to be able to play fast,” Awuzie said. “At Colorado we had a saying: ‘Knowledge equals confidence equals playing fast.’ So the quicker I know my plays, playbook and understand the defense, I’ll start being able to be more confident – then I’ll probably be able to line up different places.”

Awuzie was not a highly sought-after recruit out of high school. He was ready to go to San Jose State until Mike MacIntyre, a former Cowboys assistant, left for Colorado. Awuzie ended up with 226 solo tackles, the seventh-most in school history. His 26 tackles for loss are the most by a defensive back at the school. So were his nine sacks.

“I just want to play like myself,” Awuzie said. “I feel like everybody’s got to create their own lane. Don’t’ try to reinvent the wheel, but you definitely have to find a way to separate yourself from everybody. I feel like that’s my versatility. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take stuff from other people’s games, but I definitely did that to try to create my own player.”

And he hopes soon everybody will be able to pronounce his name correctly.