Tennessee added one more to their 2023 class this morning, welcoming in athlete Christian Okoye from the NFL Academy. Okoye was initially a part of the 2024 cycle, but he has reclassified to join Tennessee immediately. The football program announced his signature this morning as the news broke.
Welcome to Rocky Top @_skywalker10— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) May 17, 2023
@NFLAcademy#RockyTop23 | #GBO pic.twitter.com/HkzzEX4EHJ
Okoye is initially from Nigeria, and got his start at an NFL Africa camp. Former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora’s developmental academy took notice, and gave Okoye a shot. Now, he’s a four-star prospect, per 247Sports.
Okoye ranks 441st nationally in the class of 2023, checking in as the 43rd ranked edge rusher in the class. The 6-5, 230 pound athlete should have opportunities on both sides of the ball, however, as Tennessee will now have time to bring him up to speed starting as early as this fall.
The international prospect picked Tennessee over offers from Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, USC and others.
He’s extremely raw as a football player, really just picking up the game last year. He’s gone from Nigeria to London and now to Knoxville, where the Tennessee staff will get a player that they can truly develop from the very beginning stages. Where he lands on the roster will certainly be a question, but considering his size, tight end or edge rusher would seem to make the most sense. For reference, tight ends coach Alec Abeln gets credited with the recruiting win here.
This is a complete bet on upside, and a likely redshirt season will be coming. It will be interesting to see what he can grow into a couple of years down the road.