Amobi Okoye visits with ITV

Amobi Okoye will be one of many new faces that report to the football complex on Tuesday afternoon. ITV caught up with Amobi yesterday as he prepared to make the trip to Louisville.

In mid-January ITV introduced Louisville fans for the first time to Amobi Okoye, an athlete and person more mature than most his age. At the time, Okoye was only a 15 year old, but was preparing to graduate high school and was getting scholarship offers from Clemson and Mississippi State. Okoye, a defensive lineman at Lee High School in Huntsville, Ala., was one of many great players that made up the 2003 recruiting class, Bobby Petrino's first at Louisville.

"He's a very bright young man," Lee High School Head Coach David O'Connor told ITV in January. "He is awfully mature for his age, both in the classroom and on the football field."

His work ethic has helped him garner attention that most 17-year old seniors never receive. As a junior and only 14 years old, Okoye was named All-State honorable mention. He continued to improve in his final year, garnering first team All-State honors for his efforts as both an offensive and defensive lineman.

ITV caught up with Okoye just hours before he and his parents were leaving for Louisville.

ITV: I understand that you recently played in the Alabama North v. South All-Star game.

Okoye: I sure did. I went pretty good. I had a lot of fun that week being able to play with other guys that I was able to get to know from the camps I attended and that are heading off to play college football. Playing in it helped me get used to the bumps and bruises of playing again, so the timing of the game was good. I ended up as the second leading tackler with 9 tackles. Three of them were for a loss and I had one sack.

ITV: You also recently turned 16. How do you feel about the competition from older players?

Okoye: I feel like on a equal playing level with the guys in the class of 2002 and the class of 2003. I know that I will play as hard as I can as soon as I get there.

ITV: What have you been doing over the summer?

Okoye: A lot of working out with weights and a lot of running. I've tried to stay in as best shape as I could so I would be ready to go.

ITV: How much do you bench?

Okoye: I can bench 405 pounds.

ITV: What will be going through your mind as you tie up your cleats and head out to the practice field as a Louisville Cardinal for the first time?

Okoye: I know I'll be excited and nervous. I'll be wondering how intense the practices will be. What types of things will we be doing? What do the coaches expect of me and what can I expect from the coaches. I guess by then I'll probably know how long the practices will be (laughing).

ITV: Have you thought about redshirting or possibly playing early?

Okoye: No, not really. I'm just going to work as hard as I can. A lot of that will depend on how hard I work and what my performance is like.

ITV: What do you hope to achieve during your first year at Louisville?

Okoye: Well, I want to make sure that I continue to keep my grades up first and foremost. I also want to be like a sponge and soak in everything that my parents, family and friends have taught me.

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