A road loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers didn't keep the Texas Longhorns from picking up an important pledge on Saturday, as Lewisville offensive guard Denzel Okafor announced his commitment to the Horns:
TCU was the other finalist and one-time leader. However, in recent weeks, Texas was able to surge enough to take the lead by showing just enough progress on the field to convince Okafor to choose Austin as his college destination with late October serving as the turning point in his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. An unofficial visit for the Kansas game last weekend likely sealed the deal.
"Texas is having a hard time right now, and everybody sees that," Okafor told Horns247. "But it's Texas. They have so much pride and tradition. That's what engaged me. Just give them time to grow, and they'll be great. I'm looking forward to being a part of something big once Texas gets big again in a couple of years."
Okafor is a 6'3, 295-pounder ranked as a consensus three-star prospect, the No. 800 player overall, the No. 37 offensive guard, and the No. 103 player in Texas. Other schools to offer included Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado State, Kansas, LSU, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Texas A&M, Tulsa, UCLA, Utah State, and Washington. If October was the turning point in his recruitment for Texas, the spring evaluation period was the turning point for his offer list, as his stock took off.
After missing on quarterback commit Shane Buechele's teammate at Arlington Lamar, Chris Owens, Okafor is a good replacement in the class, as the two look similar on film, even though Okafor isn't as highly considered by the services.
An offensive tackle for Lewsville, Okafor will almost certainly move inside in college due to his height, though Texas hasn't ruled out that possibility with him. He can sink his hips and explode through defenders on contact and also looks like a knee bender with good pass sets against outside rushers. Working to the second level, his first two steps demonstrate good quickness before he chops his steps to acquire linebackers.
Okafor ran a 5.45 40-yard dash at the Dallas Nike Combine in March that matched that of Owens at The Opening regional camp the following day. And based on his film and overall build, he has a powerful upper body that aids his punch at the point of attack.
With three commitments in the last two weeks, Texas now has 11 overall and sits with the No. 51 class nationally and the No. 5 recruiting class in the Big 12. Okafor is now the second offensive guard in the class, so the staff will likely focus on adding one or two offensive tackles to complement the two interior players, with North Mesquite's Jean Delance standing out as the key target there.