|NFL DRAFT: DT Okoye continues career of reaching milestones early|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 29 April 2007 12:04|
So it seems normal to his mother, Edna Okoye, that her 19-year-old ``baby boy,'' picked 10th by Houston, would be the youngest player taken in the first round of the NFL draft since the merger.
``From the time I had him he has been ahead of everything he has to do,'' Edna said Sunday after the defensive tackle from Louisville was introduced in Houston.
Okoye started high school at age 12 and was enrolled at Louisville by 16. He earned a degree in psychology in just 3 1/2 years while becoming a leader on Louisville's defense.
He lived in Nigeria until the age of 12 and didn't know much about football before moving to the United States.
``I remember seeing a couple of clips in Nigeria and wondering what they were doing,'' he said.
He first got involved in football because ``my parents thought I was getting fat,'' but soon learned to love it and earned all-state honors as a 14-year-old high school senior.
The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Okoye will join a line that features last year's No. 1 pick Mario Williams and a unit with Defensive Rookie of the Year DeMeco Ryans.
``I'm ready and willing to take this team places we've never been before and I'm ready for a winning season,'' Okoye said.
The Texans went 6-10 last season and have never been even as much as .500.
While Okoye was glad to join the Texans, his father Augustine Okoye was even more excited. The elder Okoye lived in the Houston area for seven years while attending Texas Southern University and Prairie View.
``I don't think anyone was more happy than him when I got picked,'' Amobi Okoye said.
Houston defensive coordinator Richard Smith said adding Okoye helped upgrade the speed and athleticism of the team.
``For his position he has everything you look for,'' Smith said. ``He has outstanding quickness that you look for in that position. He has great change of direction. He has ability that's hard to find at that position. He has the opportunity to be a productive inside pass rusher, which we needed here on this football team.''
Okoye was one of three top prospects recently identified in a report as admitting they used marijuana. The information was apparently leaked from confidential interviews at the NFL combine.
He said he's glad that's ``all over and in the past.''
``It was unfortunate that something like that leaked out,'' he said. ``I just had to deal with it. During the combine interviews I was asked questions which I answered honestly like every other question I was given.''