Football was not the first sport Emmanuel Okoye played, but it is the sport that he may have been destined to play. The four-star prospect out of the NFL Academy in London announced on Wednesday he will be committing to Tennessee football.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound athlete has been a top target for the Vols. He chose Tennessee over Texas Tech and Southern California.
“All the other schools are great,” Okoye, a four-star prospect, told OTH. “I looked at the environment, the people that I’ve met, how I felt being around the teammates. It’s just certain things that I saw from Tennessee that helped me define my decision.”
He plans to join summer workouts and enroll in the class of 2023.
Okoye was originally recruited as a tight end, but now it seems he can play on both sides of the ball for the Vols. As an EDGE, Okoye ranks as the No. 43 prospect.
As an EDGE rusher or tight end, there is no question Okoye will cause havoc for opposing teams.
Head coach Josh Heupel played a role in Okoye’s decision, forming a close bond with the Nigerian.
“Coach Heupel is a great man, a great person,” Okoye said. “He’s a humble coach who has a great vision for his program and for his players. He has our best interests at heart. Talking to him gave me confidence and I want to be in an environment where he’s in charge.”
The transition from overseas to America is not one that worries Okoye. The prospect, who reclassed to 2023, said he is “not stressed” about learning to live in the United States.
The lanky athlete has set a lofty goal for his future, the NFL.
“The ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL, play for a good amount of time,” Okoye said. “That’s the ultimate goal. And creating relationships with the people around, you never know what the future holds.”
Tennessee, in Okoye’s eyes, gives him the best chance to grow and achieve his NFL dreams.
“A great coach, teammates and the environment,” Okoye said. “The coaches, the coaches are the ones teaching you, and the teammates.”
As Okoye enrolls with Tennessee in the summer and begins workouts, he reflected on the NFL Academy that prepared him for American football. The Academy taught Okoye the basics and helped him use his natural size to thrive on the field.
“The coaches here are great, the teammates,” Okoye said. “They prepared me. This is my foundation, where I first learned about football. So, me learning the basics from such great coaches, and the teammates and friends I formed here, have helped me learn the game and adapt quickly.”