OSU recruiting: Four-star 2022 center Felix Okpara to take official visit

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
The Ohio State University athletic department logo, 2017. [provided by OSU]

After landing a scholarship offer from Ohio State last week, Felix Okpara will take an official visit to check out the school in mid-June.

A four-star center from Chattanooga (Tennessee) Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, the 6-11, 210-pound Okpara said his first trip to Ohio will be from June 15-17. It will also be his first official visit.

“I’m (also) going to Texas this June, then I’ve got two planned for September, Ole Miss and Tennessee and I’m probably going to go to Illinois during September or October,” he said Thursday evening. “I’m real excited. It’s way better than the Zoom, the virtual stuff. Way better.”

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Okpara said his relationship with the Ohio State coaches dates back to last year. Assistant coach Jake Diebler is his primary recruiter, and the two sides have built a relationship via the virtual tools at their disposal. Doing so allowed him to eventually earn a scholarship offer, Okpara said.

Okpara: OSU coaches were 'trying to build a relationship first'

“When I first talked to them last year on the Zoom calls during the pandemic, they told me they were going to offer me but they were trying to build a relationship first,” he said. “That’s what we try to do with all the players, build a relationship and then offer the player. Not a lot of (the other schools) are like that.”

With the recruiting world resuming in-person activities in June, Okpara said it’s hard to keep everyone straight with the volume of text messages he’s been receiving this spring. Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Texas, Nebraska and others have offered him scholarships.

“Man, I mean, it’s crazy,” he said. “I get texts every other minute.”

No. 5 center in nation wants to expand his game

Asked what he’s looking for on his visits, Okpara said, “I would say I’d love to see how the coaches interact with the players and what kind of relationship the coaches have with the players. Also, I would love to see their facilities and how they could help me grow as a player.”

He is the nation’s No. 37 overall recruit, the No. 3 prospect from Tennessee and the No. 5 center in the country. Okpara said he’s been working on expanding his game and has added a three-point shot to his skills.

“Pretty much all the schools who are recruiting me are talking about how I have the ability to stretch out the floor and be a mismatch to the other, traditional bigs,” he said.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy