"This is about life lessons and doing things right," Withers said at his Monday press conference, refusing to elaborate on the details of Okakpu's dismissal. "If you don't do things right, you've got to be held accountable.
A SuperPrep All-American, Okakpu arrived in 2008 as a consensus Top 25 linebacker in high school rankings. He spent his first three seasons on special teams and as a reserve linebacker, totaling 13 tackles, and earned a starting role heading into the 2011 season.
"It's always tough when you've got to dismiss one of the kids from the team," Withers said. "It was something we felt was best for this football team."
Sophomore Darius Lipford is listed as the starting strongside linebacker, with freshman Travis Hughes as his backup, for Saturday's game against Clemson.
"I think Darius will do well," Withers said. "He's played a good bit this year and I know he'll step up and take the challenge.
"I think we'll use a number of guys at that spot. The thing that I like is we've built some depth at linebacker now where we've got the capability of moving some guys around."