One of Bishop Gorman's unsung heroes in 2014 was Ikem Okeke. In the Gaels' most competitive games, the talented outside linebacker always stepped up and made big plays. He finished his junior year with 56 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, 7 sacks, and forced 4 turnovers. According to Okeke, the best is yet to come.
"There should be no talk of Gorman falling off in 2015," Okeke claimed. "We've heard some talk, but all we are focusing on is getting better. We came out here to this Pylon 7v7 tournament to compete and improve. I'm really excited for the upcoming season. I feel like I have an opportunity to step up as a leader and that's what I'm focusing on this off-season. I've been working on speed, and I don't think there are many linebackers out there faster than me. I'm also hitting the weight room hard and feel stronger than ever. I may be undersized, but I play bigger on the field."
At 5-11 210 pounds, Okeke certainly falls under the "undersized category", but that hasn't kept colleges away. The Gorman OLB has recently picked up his first few offers and is drawing interest from over half of the Pac-12.
"I was pretty excited when I picked up the UNLV and Nevada offers," Okeke shared. "I lived up in Reno until the 8th grade, so I'm very familiar with both programs. The idea of playing for Coach Sanchez at UNLV has a pretty high appeal to me. I played for him the past few years, so he knows me and I know him. I also like Nevada a lot. I've seen some of the guys they put into the NFL. I was living there when they had Colin Kaepernick. I'm open to both schools and building those relationships, but I'm hoping to pull in a few Pac-12 offers too."
Okeke has been seeing increasing interest from a few Pac-12 schools and is hoping to land his first offer during the spring eval period.
"I love all the Pac-12 schools," Okeke said. "As of now, I'm hearing from Arizona State, Arizona, Washington, California, USC, and UCLA. I'm open to going anywhere. I want to compete against the best and I feel like the Pac-12 offers that challenge. I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there."
Okeke has the speed needed to play as an undersized linebacker. His tape shows good closing speed and above average instincts. He can pin his ears back and blitz off the edge or drop into coverage. His versatility is something that will have a lot of coaches thinking during the upcoming eval period. He had some dominant performances against some of the best high school programs in the country. There is no question that Okeke is one of the top prospects in Nevada's class of 2016.