While some analysts pegged him as a potential late first-rounder, Okafor said he thought he would probably go on the second day of the draft instead.
"I expected to be called yesterday," Okafor said. "It was a long wait yesterday. But God has a plan for me. Today I couldn't be any happier. It was worth the wait, and I think I'm in a great situation."
Okafor waited through the second day to no avail, though he didn't have to wait long on Saturday. The Arizona Cardinals tabbed Okafor with their fourth-round pick, the 103rd overall selection.
"Arizona called yesterday and told me to keep my phone open," Okafor said. "So when they called today I wasn't too surprised. I was just happy."
Part of that happiness comes from being selected.
"There is no feeling like it," Okafor said. "You can't stop smiling, that's the biggest thing about it. You're just happy about whatever situation you get. And that one team did fall in love with you, and one team does believe in you. That's all you can ask for."
But the other part comes from familiarity. Okafor will join former Longhorn defensive end Sam Acho, now an outside linebacker for the Cardinals. Okafor is expected to make a similar transition to linebacker for the Cardinals' 3-4 scheme.
"It will be cool," Okafor said. "I know when I came here he was sort of a mentor for me. So the biggest transition from college to there is finding guys to hang out with again and making new friends. And I've got already people down there that that I trust and guys that will look over me.
"I know they run a 3-4 scheme," Okafor said. "I know when Sam was here at Texas he was strictly a 4-3 end. He made a nice transition [at Arizona] and started Week 7 and never gave his spot up. So I plan on doing the same thing, coming in and bringing some heat off the edge and hopefully sooner or later earn a starting spot."
That will come soon enough. But for now, Okafor solace in achieving one of his biggest goals.
"It's just a childhood dream," Okafor said. "Every kid wishes he could do this. Everybody wants to be a professional athlete. I'm one of the lucky few that has the opportunity to do that. So I've just got to capitalize on that. I know a lot of people are living through me right now. I can't let them down. Can't be done. I've got to be successful.
"You really don't get a chance to let this all sink in," Okafor said. "You've have about the rest of the day, then after that it's business. You've got to get back in the weight room and make sure you stay in shape. Talk to your coaches and get the minicamp schedule. Get a place to stay out there with whatever city you're in. It's a quick turnaround. You've got to be ready for that."