By the following spring, Akem had healed. And though recruiters may have originally rolled through Broken Arrow to see other prospects, Akem's athletic ability as an outside linebacker and speed rusher at 6-1 and 210 pounds was prominently on display. Wilkinson said he even considered playing him at receiver before the injury.
“You see linebackers and you expect them to be huge,” Akem said. “I'm not particularly huge. I'm athletic and I have a running motor. I can go for a while and I'm a little bit faster than most linebackers.”
Akem took unofficial visits to TCU, Baylor and OU. He also attended the same OSU Junior Day as Thomas. After discussions with his mother, Akem decided to pledge to the Cowboys.
“I just really, really like it down in Stillwater,” Akem said. “It's a good environment with good people, good coaches. All the players seem to love it, and I know I probably will too.”
Moving forward, Thomas wants to become a better pass-catcher and a better pass-blocker in his senior season before graduating early and coming to Stillwater for spring practice next year. And Wilkinson raved about Akem's potential, especially once he gets in OSU's full offseason program.
“He's just a real tall, rangy kid that will really pack on some weight when he gets there,” he said. “It gives them a lot of options as far as what positions he could play.”
Things can change between now and Signing Day, of course. But Thomas and Akem are happy the recruiting process is essentially over.
“We don't have to go through all the camps to get an extra offer,” Thomas said. “We don't have to be at Texas then Arkansas then Alabama then Missouri then Louisiana, just every single weekend.
“Instead, we already know we have our offer. We already have where we're going. We have that pretty much sealed to go. All I have to do is focus on football now.”