Three-star defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston/Alief Taylor) is a good example of why college coaches are so persistent in wanting recruits to visit their campus before making a decision.
Okoronkwo, who committed to Oklahoma State in June, has been on the radar of Bedlam rival Oklahoma since the season started.
Going into his official visit to Norman, Okla., for the Baylor game, Okoronkwo had an idea of what to expect. Turns out, it was the wrong idea.
“That was my first time there, and I thought it was going to be super tiny and real country-like,” Okoronkwo said. “It wasn’t like that at all. It was real cool, real lively. It was a great atmosphere.”
On most high school teams Okoronkwo, who is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, would be the No. 1 target for schools. But playing on the opposite end of him is ESPN 300 defensive end and USC commit Torrodney Prevot.
Schools flocked to Prevot during the winter and spring, but the interest wasn’t quite there for Okoronkwo.
The Cowboys were the first major program to show interest, and Okoronkwo jumped at the opportunity to commit to OSU.
Five months after his commitment, however, he has still not seen the Cowboys' campus but has seen OU’s campus.
“It’s funny that it’s a Bedlam battle for a Houston kid,” Okoronkwo said. “They’re two great schools. But I don’t want to say anything too much because I still haven’t seen Oklahoma State.”
A visit to Stillwater is in the cards, but there is no telling when that visit will occur as Houston Alief Taylor remains alive in the playoffs.
Okoronkwo was hosted by OU defensive end Chuka Ndulue. Ndulue showed Okoronkwo all around Norman and the Oklahoma City area. Okoronkwo said there was one thing that really stood out during his weekend stay with the Sooners.
“The bond between everybody was amazing,” Okoronkwo said. “It’s a real family-like environment and somewhere I could see myself fitting in.”
Although he was happy with the campus and the game day atmosphere, Okoronkwo came in with a non-football mission for his trip to OU.
He didn’t have many questions for OU coach Bob Stoops, but he had a lot of queries for OU’s academic advisers. Okoronkwo is looking to be a pharmacy major and said he was pleased with hearing about OU’s prospective program for him.
Things looked squared away academically for Okoronkwo, and the atmosphere for OU’s win against Baylor wasn’t that bad, either.
“Wow, was that loud. That was a lot of fun,” Okoronkwo said. “I went into the weekend thinking OU was a great program. I left knowing that my thoughts had been confirmed.”
It was his first trip to OU, but it wasn’t the first time he had seen the Sooners play. Okoronkwo was in Dallas last month for OU’s dominating 63-21 victory against Texas in the Red River Rivalry game.
He said his relationship with OSU’s coaches remains strong, but he is going to compare his OSU visit with what happened at OU.
“In the end, it’s about what school fits best, but I will compare them,” Okoronkwo said. “I know both are really great programs.”