Before spring practice starts, RockyTopInsider.com will take a look at 16 uncommitted prospects to watch in the 2016 recruiting cycle. Click here for the full 2016 commitment list.
Safety – 2016 Class
6’3, 200 pounds
Smyrna, Tenn. (Smyrna High)
Other top offers
Notre Dame, Louisville, UNC, Stanford, Kentucky
The Vols – as part of their effort to stay on top of the best in-state talent – offered Okeke, a Midstate prospect, back in November (and were the first program to do so) and have positioned themselves well to be one of his top schools. Others around the nation, Notre Dame and Stanford most recently, are taking notice of him, so this will be yet another battle for Butch Jones. But he has a remarkably-high success rate on landing Midstate guys the Vols want, and after getting Okeke on campus last fall, Tennessee has to be considered one of the teams to beat.
RTI average: 3-stars
How He Fits
Okeke has a lot of traits teams are looking for in safeties. Start with his size, where he’s right in that ideal 6-2 to 6-3, 200-pound range. And he uses that size to deliver in run support. He’s a sure tackler that doesn’t avoid contact. So often you see high school safeties that don’t want to come up and engage a running back with a full head of steam, but that does not describe Okeke. He seems to embrace it.
But his athleticism and coverage skills stick out as well. He reads the quarterback’s eyes well and does a good job breaking on the ball, and shows good form in going up to get it when the opportunity presents itself. He covers a lot of space both in tracking down passes and ball carriers.
Safety is an area of need in the 2015 class with both possible starting safeties (Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil) moving on after 2015. Expect Tennessee to emphasize the secondary in this upcoming class, and there’s a decent chance that Okeke could be part of that.