International Recruit Breaks Down Maryland Commitment Over Blue Bloods

Maryland is working on putting the finishing touches on its 2023 class, but fans saw the 2024 class kick off last week when Justin Okoronkwo announced his decision. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker from Germany made the trip across the Atlantic to check out College Park ahead of the Ohio State game to first introduce him to campus. After a full weekend spending time inside the facilities and getting to know the coaches, Okoronkwo made his intentions known to head coach Mike Locksley one day after returning back to his home in Germany.

“I watched the Ohio State game against Maryland and I’m just very comfortable. I spoke with the coaches and it was great, felt like home so I just made it home,” he told Inside the Black and Gold. “Maryland is also close to the city and I’m from Munich, also from the city so that’s more awesome qualities that made me excited to want to go to Maryland. The location is nice, weather is great. It’s just home there. They have a big indoor facility, that’s great. I think it’s perfect to get better.”

Okoronkwo also got extensive one-on-one time with head coach Mike Locksley which left an impression. The three-star prospect also held offers from Ohio State and Michigan and visited Penn State after College Park, but it was Maryland who was able to add him in the class. “I spoke mostly to the head coach. We’ve been there on the weekend, they offered me, we watched the game and then the next day after I got back, I talked to Locksley and I told him I wanted to commit there.”

Okoronkwo isn’t completely new to the states having hit the camp circuit last summer to check out Ohio State and Michigan among others. Okoronkwo admitted he was slightly familiar with the program as he’s trained by Josh Alaeze, the brother of former player Melvin Alaeze, while his recruiting coach Brandon Collier, founder of PPI, also holds a strong connection with the coaching staff. The third-party validation from both helped set the stage as Collier offered Okoronkwo strong praise on the Terps. “He has a great connection to the coaches and I think he really likes the players. We stayed for one or two days. Collier was already at every college in the US and he said [Maryland] was a good location.”

As an international prospect, Okoronkwo admitted he picked up football just two years ago after growing up playing soccer. After his friend convinced him to give American football a chance, Okoronkwo flourished in Germany as coaches salivated over his combination of size and athleticism. At the next level, the three-star prospect will suit up as a linebacker and Maryland has a preference. “I play inside linebacker and outside linebacker for my home team, so I can fit anywhere they need me. I spoke to the coaches, I think they want me to play inside linebacker.”

Okoronkwo will wrap up his high school career with the Fursty Razorbacks in Germany and while he won’t entertain visits elsewhere, he’s looking forward to exploring more of College Park.

“For sure I want to take another visit. I can’t wait to come back there and I think I want to see more of campus. We just did a tour of the facilities, not the whole college, so I just really want to see everything.”

Okoronkwo is rated a three-star prospect and an 87 overall by On3.

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