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Oklahoma State football: Broken Arrow LB Gyasi Akem didn't let ACL injury stop him

SUPER 30 — Gyasi Akem was slated to start in his sophomore season before tearing his ACL. But he stayed involved with the team, full recovered and morphed into one of the state's top players. He committed to Oklahoma State in the spring.
By Gina Mizell Published: July 23, 2013
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photo - HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tulsa Union's quarterback Hunter Atyia runs by Broken Arrow's Gyasi Akem at Union Tuttle Stadium, Sept. 14, 2012. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World ORG XMIT: DTI1209142053220714
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Tulsa Union's quarterback Hunter Atyia runs by Broken Arrow's Gyasi Akem at Union Tuttle Stadium, Sept. 14, 2012. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World ORG XMIT: DTI1209142053220714

Akem was back on the field as a junior last season, with the only visible evidence of his injury being a clunky and scratchy knee brace. And after he tallied 58 tackles and five sacks, recruiting calls from college coaches started flooding in “out of nowhere.”

What makes Akem an attractive college prospect is his versatility. At 6-1 and 215 pounds, he's big and strong enough to play inside. Despite that size, he's got the speed and athleticism to play in space against spread offenses. He's even an option on offense as a hybrid tight end/inside receiver.

“He could play a lot of positions. That's what makes him so valuable,” Spavital said. “Is he the best linebacker in the state? Well, you don't know. But he's probably the most versatile.”

Akem first met OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who is also the team's linebackers coach, at a camp as a freshman. A scholarship offer came at one of the Cowboys' Junior Days. He then committed at OSU's spring finale.

So Akem heads into his final high school season feeling healthy and stronger than ever. He is working to improve his tackling technique and hopes to perhaps even lead the team in that category.

He also won't need to wear the knee brace anymore. Still, that injury and recovery experience hasn't left him.

It's made him more thankful for the opportunity to play football again — and to snag a college scholarship.

“It taught me not to take anything for granted,” Akem said. “Every moment you get to be in, give your heart, give full out and don't stop until the whistle blows.”