Hitting the Pavement

With seven offers at his disposal, Minnesota prep defensive end Tobi Okuyemi has plenty of options to chose from. Already having four schools that stand out among the rest, Okuyemi decided to focus on team chemistry rather than making his decision this summer.

MADISON - When one is as highly recruited as Tobi Okuyemi, a rigorous summer camp schedule is not necessary.

After missing the entire 2008-09 basketball season with a torn meniscus, the only thing Okuyemi is worried about is getting back to full strength, which he has done religiously since school let out at Wayzata (MN) High School.

"At high school, we have workouts four days a week, three hours a day," Okuyemi told Badger Nation. "We've been working out as a team because we are trying to build chemistry after losing a lot of players from last season's team. We focus on different aspects of skill, like speed, quickness and strength. We work on being explosive and our footwork. It's a lot of speed stuff and agility stuff that is going to help us next season."

More importantly, the workouts have helped Okuyemi get back into playing condition. A three-star prospect that's ranked as the No. 65 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, Okuyemi, through the summer workout schedule, has seen his skill work improve. Getting reps against the offensive line, Okuyemi has seen his pass rush get better, his reads improve and his strength become an asset.

"I feel like (the workouts) have been real effective," he said. "I feel like I am definitely going up and helping me physically be a better player. Right now, I feel I cam explode off the line really hard and open up some creases. I am a little undersized, but I can get good leverage because I say low under pad level. I try to get the advantage and get to the next level every play. I am working on getting stronger and faster."

Staying around 240 pounds until he gets to college, the only thing Okuyemi is increasing is his offer list. Recently picking up an offer from Michigan State, Okuyemi now stands at seven offers, as the Spartans join Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin to have offered.

"My favorites are the four schools I have visited, which are Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin," Okuyemi said. "I've gone to those places and have met the coaches and like the facilities, but I like Michigan State a lot and hope that I can see them soon. I have talked to Vanderbilt also and hope to get a look at them.

"I went to Wisconsin for a junior day and for a spring practice," added Okuyemi. "The practices are really intense. People are flying around everywhere and competing. They don't waste time on anything."

One school that hasn't offered that is hoping to get a look at Okuyemi is Tennessee, who under first year head coach Lane Kiffin has made a big splash on the recruiting scene in both the positive and negative kind.

"The last couple of weeks the coaches started sending me letters and wanting me to come visit," Okuyemi said. "They said that down the road, there might be an offer, maybe after my senior season if they see what they want from me."

As a junior, Okuyemi finished with 57 tackles (17 for loss), nine sacks, five fumbles caused, one interception and one blocked field goal to help lead the Trojans to a 14-0 record and a Class 5A title as a junior. With goals set even higher this upcoming season, and with a healed leg to boot, Okuyemi is going to take his time to find the school that's the right fit.

"I want to take all my officials, so maybe during or after my senior year is when I will take my visits," he said. "I am not really sure where I am going to take my official visits. Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin are close, so I will probably go down for a game."


Badger Nation Top Stories