Expectations for Frank Okam were tremendous heading into the 2006 season. When I chatted with Chip Brown just before the season started, he raved, "Their [Roy Miller and Derek Lokey] fire will help ignite Okam, who should be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the time he's done. (He should have a tough decision to make after this season about whether to leave early. He's got that much potential.) Okam is also moving from the nose to the 3-technique (lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard, where it will be harder to double team him.)"
Okam did consider leaving after this season to turn pro, but wisely decided against it. After a lackluster, injury-riddled 2006, his stock wasn't anywhere near its potential peak value. Okam finished 2006 with a mere 38 tackles - down from 48 in '05. He had only two sacks, six tackles for loss, and 10 quarterback hurries. His performance earned him a nod in the "Honorable Mention" category of the All Big 12 team.
The high hope was that Okam would be a disruptive force in the middle of the line who forced teams to spend big chunks of blocking capital on. Okam never really got going, though, and was hindered by several nagging injuries that didn't fully heal until the end of the season. Not surprisingly, his two best games of the year were probably A&M and Iowa.
One of 2006's biggest disappointments, high hopes will be placed again on Okam heading into '07. Along with Lokey and Miller, Texas has a chance to have a tremendous interior defensive line. But not if Okam doesn't elevate his game from the 2006 letdown.