Salem notes: Okoli’s Stock on the Rise

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Relatively new on Virginia Tech’s offer list is 6-5, 275-pound Salem (Virginia Beach, VA) defensive lineman Chima Okoli . Okoli, a physical specimen who earned first-team all-Beach district and first-team all-Tidewater honors for his senior season performance, has some other options as well.

“Chima has a few offers,” Salem Head Coach Robert Jackson told “He just picked one up the other day from Michigan State. Virginia Tech has offered. Clemson has offered. Maryland has said it will offer, but nothing is in writing. Marshall has offered.”

Virginia Tech has offered, but only as a grey-shirt. This means Okoli would enroll at Virginia Tech in January of 2008.

“I think Tech is the only one with a grey-shirt,” Jackson said. “I think there is a good chance that could change due to the fact that Chima has standing offers from other 1A programs.”

Will grey-shirting play a role in Okoli’s decision?

“I don’t know,” Jackson said. “Chima has relatives that have gone to Tech. He’s a Tech fan. I’m not sure about the financial situation with him, though. That could play a part with him.”

After only playing a little over half the season in 2005, Okoli turned in a full season this year for Coach Jackson. And he played very well, racking up 62 tackles and 12 sacks in 2006.

“He was head and shoulders over where he was as a junior,” Jackson said. Okoli saw time at defensive tackle and defensive end this past season. “I think his parents took him to Nigeria during the beginning of his junior season. He was there for a whole semester, but he came back to us around game four. Going into the season, he only had seven varsity games. I think that was a big reason why he flew under the radar.”

Okoli has taken official visits to Marshall and Michigan State and, according to Jackson, has set up official visits with Virginia Tech and Maryland for next month. Jackson isn’t sure of the specific dates.

A good student, Okoli is in Salem’s gifted student program.

Junior offers…

Jackson boasts two very notable juniors for the 2008 recruiting class – RB Kevin Whaley and LB Lyndell Gibson. These are two key returning pieces for next year’s team, which is looking to add to the success Salem had this year (an appearance in