RECRUITING: Okam ready for final visits

Dallas, Texas DT Franklin Okam talks about a possible move to defensive end in college, recruiting and about his experience at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.


JH: What was it like to play in the Army All-Star game?

FO: "The All-Star was a unique experience for me that I will never forget for the rest of my life. The level of competition was incredible, and it certainly gave me a taste of the type of talent I will play against the rest of my life. The talent was incredible, because most of them were used to being the big dog on our own team or in most of our own games, but in this game we went up against players of our own equal ability or better, and that was an eye-opening experience. The main thing that was difficult about the week was the practices. We practice twice a day for four days on artificial turf and I hate that stuff. By the third day everybody was feeling it. We hit hard at the practices and really got after it, but the only thing we didn't do was tackle guys to the ground."

JH: Where the practices so intense, because everybody was trying to prove that they belong?

FO: "I would say so, because everybody is out there trying to see who is what and why somebody is rated so well. I was lining up across from Jeff Byers. He is one of the very best in the country, so I was working hard to make sure I matched up well with him. What is interesting is that there was so much talent on the field that you never took a play off in practice. We really got after it and hit hard, but surprising nobody got hurt."

JH: You played defensive end most of the time in the game instead of defensive tackle, so how did you like it?

FO: "During practice I played about 90 percent of the time at defensive end and that transferred to the game. What happened is that we had seven defensive linemen and only one was a true defensive end and I was one of the faster defensive tackles, so they moved me to defensive end for the game. During practice I liked playing defensive end, but the only thing I didn't like about it was that I played against Herman Johnson and he was humongous and a load. If I had played defensive tackle the whole game, I think I would have made a lot more plays, but as it is as the game went on I think I adjusted well and played pretty well at defensive end. Our other defensive end was Jeff Schweiger (USC) and he was awesome. I played well enough at defensive end that now I am wondering if I can play defensive end in college."

JH: What other players impressed you at the game?

FO: "Actually, the guy I was impressed with the most was a guy that I went up against most of the time in practice, and that was Ryan Miller out of Louisiana. He was very tough and skilled, and he was tough to go against every day. Rhett Bomar was outstanding. I can see why everybody is so high on him. Of course, Adrian Peterson at running back is an incredible talent. For a guy to be that fast, at that size, is incredible. I tried to catch up with him a couple of times and he just left me behind. I was also impressed with Marcus Walker at cornerback and Cameron Colvin at wide receiver."

JH: Did a lot of players talk about recruiting much at the game?

FO: "I was surprised how much recruiting was actually going on down there. It seems that I always had somebody leaning over my shoulder telling me to go to OU or somebody was telling me to go to Texas. It seemed that those guys that were committed to those schools were very passionate about those schools. I even had a couple of guys trying to get me interested in USC."

JH: Did you spend enough time at the game that you could develop a friendship with certain players? And might that friendship influence your decision on where you would go to school?

FO: Actually, the time spent was just about right to where you would think about signing with a certain school, because you got to know certain players well. Plus, you saw how talented some of them were. You take a look at the guys who were committed to OU like Rhett and Adrian Peterson, and that makes you think twice about committing to OU. Plus, Adrian was a real nice guy, as was Rhett, and that means a lot to me as well."

JH: What is going on in recruiting with you at the moment?

FO: "I am still considering Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. There is still an outside chance maybe for Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, but it is pretty much just those three schools."

JH: Are you looking at each school equally?

FO: "I have to keep all the schools even until I take my visits. I visit OU on January 23rd and Florida on the 16th."

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