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January 29, 2013
SCOOP HD: Akem's Name is Getting Out
Since he was a freshman expectations have been incredibly high for Broken Arrow, Okla. linebacker Gyasi Akem. Going into his sophomore year former Tigers Elite 11 quarterback Archie Bradley spent his time waiting for the major league baseball draft on the sidelines of Broken Arrow's spring practices telling anyone that could listen there were a pair of 2014 prospects for the world to know about.
While many were learning about running back Devon Thomas during his massive sophomore year for the Tigers, Akem was busy rehabbing a serious knee injury.
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However as a junior the 6-foot-1 216-pound four-star prospect could be kept a secret no longer. After a big year he has seen offers rolling in over the past week starting with Clemson who was followed by Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.
"They told me they like my tape and want to talk to the head coach and defensive coordinator that's what I've been hearing," Akem said. "I don't know, it's like, it's just crazy. When they say they are going to offer me I'm speechless every time."
He took some time to talk about each of his recent offers, which joined his initial offer from Arkansas State during the football season.
"I think Clemson came by last spring and coach (Brent) Venables let the coaches know he was interested. I called him and he offered me," he said.
"With Missouri, it was pretty much the same thing, I just called them and they offered.
"I went into coach (Mike) Gundy's office when I went to the junior day. Coach (Glenn) Spencer, when I came in for registration he told me about the offer first, and I had already been to the junior day before so when we were going over some academics coach Spencer came up and took me to coach Gundy's office and he let me know they had an offer for me."
Many had assumed that Akem, a self-proclaimed Oklahoma State fan, would immediately accept his Cowboys offer but so far he says he is waiting to take his time. However, he couldn't deny his excitement over the offer.
"It was pretty could to get the offer from coach Gundy, I was cheesing for sure."
If he is open to the recruiting process, is he open to looking around to national offers like Clemson and others that may come?
"I don't think, I don't want to hinder myself by saying I want to stay closer to home, I'm going to go wherever it feels right to go. If it happens to be 14 hours away in Clemson then I guess that's where I'll go but I haven't gotten out to visit so I don't know yet," he said. "It's still very early, I kind of want to wait it out and visit the schools that I really have interested in and see what I like about them."
Though Akem's talent has long been known around Broken Arrow, due to his injury it took a while for that talent to show up on tape. Though he took some time to find his feet he says it was roughly mid-season when things started to feel right to him again.
"Probably about where everything started to come together was probably around Muskogee. That's where I would say I really started to get it and everything started to come together. The Norman North game, out of any other game, I had the most highlights in that game," Akem said.
The Norman North game was a highlight reel that SCOOP HD was on hand for as Akem largely took over in the second half against the Timberwolves in the Oklahoma state quarterfinals. As the game wore on Akem began to create more and more pressure from the perimeter of the defense and many feel it could be a role he'll take to naturally in the college game.
It seems coaches aren't too worried about where he'll play - just where he'll be playing.
"They like that I can probably still play that position but I can move in space. Oklahoma State, they said they might play me at that star position but might move me to WILL linebacker, I think Missouri and also Clemson said - they said I'd say the same position I play right now - the star," he said. "I'd like to play, I like what I'm doing now but I can always learn another linebacker position. I think linebacker is linebacking, it's not about that - you can play inside if you need to."
Akem says he'd like to major in something along the lines of criminal justice and says that his plans when he looks at schools is more about the relationships he'll develop with each school.
"The things that I'm looking for is not so much the system that they run, I feel like I can fit in a 4-3, 3-4, or a 4-2-5 like we run right now. I'm going to look at what I'm going to major in and what the people are like there."
Following his Oklahoma offer on Monday Akem acknowledged that he had been invited to the Sooners junior day this Saturday but had loosely planned to attend Baylor's event the same day. He is currently unsure which junior day he'll make it to.