Michigan football’s 2021 class is starting to take shape. After a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Raheem Anderson last weekend, the class is now up to eight members and ranks No. 9 on the 247Sports composite.
One thing it is lacking, however, is a true pass rusher. Somebody to get after the quarterback and cause havoc in the backfield. You can never have too many guys like that — ask defensive line coach Shaun Nua and he’d probably tell you the same thing.
In fact, Nua just offered a kid who may fall under that category — three-star Tobechi Okoli.
“I was very shocked and excited,” Okoli told Maize n Brew what his reaction was after landing the offer.
At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, the Kansas City, Missouri native is a real athlete and has a knack for getting into the backfield quick, as on display in his junior year highlight reel.
He only played eight-man football as a freshman, and he never played football in middle school, although he admits he wanted to.
“We couldn’t find a team and our school didn’t have it,” Okoli said.
All that adds up to 2019 being Okoli’s first year of playing 11-man football, so the fact he has these abilities already is pretty incredible. Obviously, Nua saw the talent and pulled the trigger on extending the offer. It was the first time Nua and Okoli had spoken to each other.
“He’s a great guy,” Okoli said of Nua. “Very easy to talk to.”
Okoli also said he would like to visit Ann Arbor once this COVID-19 mess is all over. Nothing is in the works as of now, but those plans will be sorted out in the future.
Other than Michigan, Okoli holds offers from schools like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Tennessee, Washington State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa and more. His talents are wanted all across the country, including by Nua in Ann Arbor.
“Right now I’m looking at all schools to make sure I make the best choice,” Okoli said.
The things Okoli are looking for in his future school are “academic support and athletic development.” He has some thinking to do given the schools that have offered him so far.
247Sports’ Allen Trieu compares him to a name that should be familiar to Michigan football fans — Taco Charlton.
“Big, long body and has quickly gotten bigger and added good weight. Good athlete who can cover a lot of ground quickly and get off the ball. Shows aggressiveness. Has not played football for long and is still learning technique. Has to keep improving lateral agility as well. Big upside. Will need some time but has the athleticism and size to play for many schools around the country and have a shot at playing beyond college.”
Okoli is ranked the No. 521 overall player and No. 35 strong-side defensive end in the 2021 class, per 247Sports’ composite.