While Arkansas State coaches are vying for top recruits in the class of 2013, they're also keeping an eye on next year's crop of players. They were the first program to extend an offer to Gyasi Akem, a 6-foot-2, 209-pound linebacker out of Broken Arrow, Okla.
"Brandon Hall came to my high school at the beginning of the summer," said Gyasi Akem. "He told my coaches that [Arkansas State] loved my size and speed for a linebacker. They liked how well I move in coverage. He said I moved better than most linebackers he's seen. I was excited with it being my first offer. I didn't know a whole lot about the program at first but I've been reading up on them and staying in touch with the coaches."
Most schools want to see how Akem does in his junior season before extending an offer. He was out all of the 2011 season after tearing his ACL just a week before the Tigers first game.
"My leg has healed well and the doctor said I should be good to go to start the season," he stated. "I play the nickel corner in a 4-2-5 defense. I'm hoping to be a big asset to my team and help us make it back to the state championship game."
Broken Arrow fell to Tulsa Union in last year's Oklahoma 6A state final by a score of 23-22. Although Akem did not play last season, he was very impressive at a combine in Dallas and is hearing from several interested parties. It doesn't seem likely he'll only have one offer for long.
"I've been to the University of Houston and Oklahoma State," Akem said. "I'm hearing from Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oregon State. I'm looking at colleges not just about football, but if they have my major. I'm really interested in Criminal Justice but that's not definite. I'd like to be in a 4-2-5 and play the nickel [in college] because that's what I know best. It doesn't matter though if it's a 3-4 or 4-3 as long as it's not hard to learn. I'm just going to take my time and see where I'm at [with offers] when the season's over."
Akem also competes in track at Broken Arrow in the 110 meter hurdles and the long jump. He didn't do much with track, however, last spring while recovering from his leg injury. He wears No. 27 for the Tigers. They'll start their season with a road game at Owasso on August 31st.