February 6, 2009
Ability and bloodlines make Orakpo a catch
While he may have flown under the recruiting radar, there was no hiding Texas safety Mike Orakpo
and his talent on the football field this season. Last season Houston Westbury High School's Orakpo was a first team All-District selection and led the team in tackles with 88 stops. He also picked off three passes and had a pair of sacks.
Wednesday, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Orakpo signed a letter of intent with Colorado State, making him the second Orakpo to collect a college football scholarship. His brother, Brian Orakpo, was an All-American defensive end for Texas this falls, but Michael says he is a different player than his brother. He added that his brother's reputation may have helped Colorado State recruit him to Fort Collins.
"I kind of get tired of playing in his (Brian's) shadow a little bit," Michael said. "That might be why I choose to go away from the Big 12 and make a name for myself in the Mountain West Conference. I didn't want to live of his legacy."
Colorado State got a commitment from Orakpo on Saturday, as he chose Colorado Sate over scholarship offers from Houston, Oklahoma State, Central Arkansas, Prairie View A&M and Texas Southern. Although he had not been to CSU on an official visit (he is planning on coming to Fort Collins in late Feb. or March). He said the New Mexico Bowl turned him on to the thought of playing in Fort Collins.
"I watched them in the Bowl Game and I really liked the facilities they are building," he said. "I felt Coach Steve came in a did a great job. I think it is a program that is on the rise. it will fit me to be in the Mountain West as well. They have been recruiting me since early on this season. Initially, we didn't have the connection. Later on they came to the school. I liked to the coach and down to the wire it was Oklahoma State and Colorado State."
Orakpo will bring athleticism to the Rams' front seven. He is the owner of a 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash, a 325 bench press max and a 515 max in the squat. While he was a safety last season, playing linebacker is nothing new to Orakpo, who was a middle linebacker as a junior, collecting 92 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. For his efforts, he was named one of the top 20 linebackers in Texas by MaxPreps.com.
"I was a speedy linebacker as a junior who wasn't afraid to hit," Orakpo said. "Coach took my speed and when we had a lack of secondary, he said I could be a college safety, so he changed my position to safety."
Orakpo said his goals coming to Fort Collins are basic - he wants a ring.
"My first goal coming in is to help the team out as much as I can, especially the defense," he said. "I want to make us a strong defensive unit in conference play. One of my future goals is to get a Mountain West Conference Championship."
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