- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Sooners have gotten some pretty good players to flip from Oklahoma State in recent years, notably Ryan Broyles and Demontre Hurst. This year, the Sooners were at it again, picking off defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo from the Cowboys.
Okoronkwo checked in with SoonerNation prior to enrolling at OU in June to discuss what made him switch, and what he thinks of the defensive end position in Norman:
SoonerNation: What jersey are you wearing?
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo: I’m hoping it stays 12. I know there’s a 12 on offense, but not on the defense. But I don’t know for sure.
SN: 12 is an odd number for your position. Why 12?
Okoronkwo: My coach gave it to me. I remember I had a choice between 99 and 12, and I grabbed the 12, and have been sticking with it ever since.
SN: Have the coaches talked with you about your potential role this fall?
Okoronkwo: They have been been telling me to really get after the passer, that they might have me as a third-down specialist, to bring pressure. That’s my specialty, the strength in my game.
SN: What will you be working on before you get on campus?
Okoronkwo: What I’ve been working on most is my versatility, as far as being able to move in the flats, as well as my physicality. I know the game speed is going to change, but I know the strength of the O-linemen will, too. I’m not going to be able to throw O-linemen around like I did in high school.
SN: What are you most excited about coming to OU?
Okoronkwo: I’m most excited about getting up there and earning my spot.
SN: What are you planning to get your degree in?
Okoronkwo: Pharmacy. I’ve always been interested in medicine.
SN: What player do you look up to most on the current OU team?
Okoronkwo: I admire Tapp [Charles Tapper]. He’s got a basketball background, can move really well.
SN: Who did you like watching the most last year?
SN: What did you make of Chuka moving inside?
Okoronkwo: I thought it was a good move for him, just for the fact he’s very strong, explosive, he could bring speed. Moving inside he can bring more of a pass rush.
SN: Seems like OU has several up-and-coming players at your position. Is that exciting?
Okoronkwo: I am excited. We have all types of different D-ends. The traditional D-ends, Then a lot of new D-ends. Those coming in are more speedy that can get after the passer.
SN: When did you know OU was the place for you?
Okoronkwo: I knew it was the place maybe six hours into the visit. The atmosphere, it was nothing like I had seen before.
SN: You were previously committed to Oklahoma State. How did they take it when you told them you were coming to OU?
Okoronkwo: They were actually pretty understanding, but I knew they felt like it was a slap in the face.
SN: Who did you tell?
Okoronkwo: Coach [Bill] Young and coach Van Malone.
SN: What’s it going to be like playing them?
Okoronkwo: I know when we play them I’ve got to ball. I know that game is going to be the game I have to show up.
6dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter