Gyasi Akem: His Coach's Take

Gyasi Akem of Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School is a 6-1, 220-pound athlete who is expected to be an outside linebacker for Oklahoma State. With National Signing Day around the corner (Feb. 5), we visited with Steve Spavital, the head coach at Broken Arrow before resigning after the 2013 season, about Akem and his future with the Cowboys.

What are Gyasi's strengths as a football player?
Spavital: Gyasi's strengths are intelligence and versatility. He's a very versatile athlete. In high school as big as he is, he played in a position against spread offenses that is really geared for another secondary guy. He is able to play in space very well. He has great hands; he was able to multiple positions and personnel groupings because of his intelligence. His versatility is a key factor.

What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from the high school game to the Big 12 Conference?
Spavital: Obviously they need to be redshirted because it's a day and night difference coming from high school to college, especially the caliber of Oklahoma State. He's going to have to gain more strength, he's going to have to gain more intelligence about the game, he's going to have to understand the commitment a little bit more. He'll respond very well. It's just that the game is so much faster and more physical. He has all the intangibles but he hasn't really experienced that on an everyday factor.

Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Spavital: It'll be an adjustment period but he's going to make an impact, possibly on special teams or on things of that nature. His mindset is he's going to work to be a starter; that's the way he is. Now whether he can or not, I don't know. But I know he will be a factor.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Spavital: Basically because of the relationships with the coaches. He has a good relationship with the coaches who recruited him. Glenn Spencer is a good friend and he's had a good relationship with him. I think that's the key right there. I think the deciding factor was coach Spencer.

What do you think he is capable of accomplishing over the course of his college career at OSU?
Spavital: I think it's endless. Being so versatile, he's going to be able to do a lot of things that will impact the program. He's not one that's going to be specifically designed to say, you're going to play this linebacker (position). He's going to have the ability to play several other linebacker (positions), and I think that's the key with him. You're going to have those players who can only play one position but we can play Gyasi over here because he's able to do that. He's going to get bigger, stronger and faster because the strength program is second to none. It's just going to be amazing to see what's going to happen. In a year from now he's going to look just awesome.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Spavital: His personality, his focus, his desire to get better, his commitment to the program is just second to none. He never missed a day. He wasn't one of those guys who took off all the time to take college trips. He was here every day, and he worked hard every day. I've known him since he was a little guy and just watching him grow up has been such a pleasure for a coach to see how much he has improved and see how much he has developed.

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