I’ve said it before and I have to say it again after watching film of Ikenna Okeke: safeties are incredibly hard to evaluate. There just isn’t enough film to evaluate of most of them due and most of the time they are strictly coming downhill so it’s tough to evaluate how they match up athletically in terms of opening up their hips and running.
Okeke has some really nice traits that make him someone with a high ceiling, though. That’s why schools like Stanford, Penn State, Tennessee, and Notre Dame have all offered him along with many other programs.
Okeke has put on weight since his junior season and looks more filled out in his upper body. He has the ideal height and length for any defensive back and probably could get up to around 210 quite comfortably. He has decent long speed, but I did’t get to see him open up enough to judge how fluid he is as an athlete. His acceleration is solid.
I really like the way Okeke tackles. He chops ball carriers down by going low, but isn’t too much of a lunger. He’ll wrap and won’t just throw a shoulder into it. He does a nice job of coming from depth and taking good angles to the football. He is a very good tackler in space.
He looks fairly smooth in his backpedal and transitions well coming downhill, but I didn’t get to see him open up and run deep. Is that something he can do well? What kind of range does he have? These are questions I’d like to have answers for, but don’t have based on the limited available film of him.
What he does show is exceptional ball skills. What he does as a receiver on offense transfers over to his work at safety as well. He does a great job of reading the quarterback, putting himself in a great position to make a play, and then finishing with interceptions.
I think he is a deep safety in most defenses.
Okeke has all of the physical characteristics to be a terrific safety at the next level, but there are some question marks as to whether he can be a true free safety because there are other things you’d like to see from him athletically that aren’t available on his film. If the answers to those things are positive, then he has the ball skills and consistency as a tackler to be a good starting safety at the college level.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).