Okafor and Allen ready to report for duty

Before Alex Okafor and Tariq Allen report to the Forty Acres as midterm enrollees for the Longhorns, they are preparing for the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Burnt Orange Beat caught up with both standout defenders yesterday to discuss their bowl preparation and their expectations for next season.

Defensive end Alex Okafor and linebacker Tariq Allen both committed to the University of Texas and Coach Mack Brown almost a year ago. Now that both have wrapped up their senior seasons, they are preparing the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio this week. They are also getting acclimated with the time pressures of being a college student athlete.

"The last couple of days have been just hectic…interviews after interviews and two-a-day practices. The practices have been amazing going against the top players in the country and to know that you are counted as one of those players is quite an honor," said Allen.

Okafor added, "It is just a great week - a great experience altogether - being able to see some of these great players that you will see down the road in the college. Some of these guys might be future Hall of Famers, so it is just a great experience to communicate and bond with them. I am going up against the best OL I have ever gone against so it has just made me a better player. I am trying to work on my first step a little better since they are so quick."

Both defenders were happy to be able to spend more time with their fellow Longhorn commits. The Texas Longhorns have seven current commits playing in the game, and have been seen spending a lot of time together both on and off the field.

"We are like a big family. Where ever we go, all you hear is, ‘Uh oh, here come the Texas boys'. It is just great to be able to have seven people that you already know down here. It is just great fun," Alex Okafor said.

Tariq Allen added that he was learned quite a bit this week from Okafor and other Longhorn commits and the coaches.

"Always stay humble. Some people might come into the game and think they are perfect. When you get out here, it is an eye opening experience. All of these players from around the country are going to be top stars on the next level, so it is a humbling experience," Allen said.

Allen and Okafor have both certainly shown that they belong on the field this week. And they will need to be ready for that level of competition because after this weekend's game, both Okafor and Allen are scheduled to move down to Austin, begin classes, and start their college careers.

Okafor noted, "I am going to see what I can do. I know the roster is a little thin at the DE position and I am going to be coming down in January, so hopefully I can work out with the team, get a couple of reps, and come in every once in a while. I don't really expect to start, but if I have to, I'll be ready."

Both players will enroll on January 16 at Texas.

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