More welcome recruiting news arrived yesterday with news that Westbury (Houston) Offensive Tackle Christian Okafor committed to Cal on his official visit last weekend. That's 6'6", and 300 pounds of offensive lineman folks! Okafor had de-committed from Texas Tech last week just prior to his visit and had given indications that a good visit to Berkeley would seal the deal for him. Apparently it did. Ryan Gorcey over at Bear Territory has a couple writeups ($ for the one that requires a subscription):
Okafor held additional scholarship offers from LSU, Arkansas, Baylor, Mississippi State, and Houston, but the pull from out west and a quality degree were some helpful deciding factors. After the jump we'll take a look at some tape and drop a couple more savory quotes and analysis. Dominoes!
Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 300 lbs
Recruiting Site Info:
Scout.com - 4*, # 33 OT Nationally
Rivals.com - 3*, # 67 OT Nationally
247Sports - 3*, # 49 OT Nationally
ESPN - 4*, # 30 OT Nationally
Here's a 2010 highlight of Okafor...taken from about 3 miles away. Still, you can see how well he moves for such a big dude:
Here's Tom Lemming's analysis on Okafor, courtesy of MaxPreps:
He excels as both a run and pass blocker. The scouts have been amazed at his quickness and the ability to get out into the open field and block down on linebackers. As nimble footed as they come, he should wind up playing LT in college. Has the quickness, balance, change of direction, and the mentality to play LT or RT. Shows natural power to dominate the point of attack and always seems to get good positioning.
Craig Haubert from ESPN weighs in ($):
The big man out of the Lone Star state has good size and athleticism for play in the trenches and is a tough and aggressive blocker.
He needs to watch his pad level, but the four-star displays good initial quickness to get into defenders and with his base and good leg drive he can create push off the ball in the run game. The 300-pounder also does a very nice job for his size when asked to pull and trap. He is a sound pass protector with nimble feet and good overall hand use and displays the ability to bend and slide with the balance necessary to handle inside change-of-direction moves.
And here's some early analysis of Okafor from Double T Nation, The Texas Tech SB Nation site, from back when he committed to them...:
What's obvious is that Okafor is big, he's got the requisite size to play the position. I usually find it interesting to see a player of Okafor's talent playing right tackle and perhaps he'll be moved to left tackle for his team, or maybe Texas Tech envisions him as only a right tackle and want him to continue to play that position. I like his footwork and when he does pull and get down the line of scrimmage he looks pretty darned athletic doing so. Like a lot of linemen coming in from high school, he needs to work on his strength, I didn't really see any evidence of Okafor just over-powering his opponent, but when you have a guy of Okafor's frame, you don't worry about having the strength right now. That can happen later.
Worth noting that Christian's older brother Mickey is a senior at Tech. Christian has chosen his own path though, and we get to benefit from that.
Not a big surprise that a guy who's 6'6" and has huge wingspan would have some issues with strength and maintaining a low pad-level. That doesn't bother me much. A year or two with Coach Blasquez will help remedy that. The good words in there are much more encouraging: quickness, aggression, athleticism. Love to see those kind of adjectives describing a dude as big as Okafor.
This is a very good pickup at a position of need for us. Welcome aboard Christian, and GO BEARS!