- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
At this time last year, Mike Onuoha didn’t even have a scholarship offer from Oklahoma.
After receiving an OU offer in January and signing with the Sooners, the freshman defensive end is leaving a strong impression on his teammates this fall. He played his way out of a redshirt season in August and has seen spot duty in blowout games. Onuoha has four tackles and one quarterback hurry in four games played.
Although Onuoha has seen very limited game action this season, the 6-foot-5, 235 pound freshman is improving.
“His pass rushing has gotten a heck of a lot better,” said defensive end R.J. Washington, who has taken Onuoha and fellow freshman end Charles Tapper under his wing. “His pass rush has really improved, he’s really good with his hand movements.”
Onuoha is improving at getting off the ball, a problem he struggled with in August.
“He’s starting to finally move and get out,” Washington said.
The lanky Onuoha brings a unique skill set to the Sooners defensive line thanks to his long arms. His body type is reminiscent of Big 12 defensive player of the year Frank Alexander, who is currently in his first NFL season with the Carolina Panthers.
“Mike is like Frank, he even looks like Frank as a freshman,” Washington said. “He’s a really long guy, you can make more plays when you have a body type like that.”
Onuoha’s length presents real problems for opposing offensive linemen.
“He’s going to be a good player in the future,” said tackle Daryl Williams who battles Onuoha in practice on a regular basis. “He’s good right now, so [the coaches] put him on me, to try to work me. He’s got those long arms and he’s quick, that’s why I think he’s going to be good in the future.”