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JuCo DE Sam Okuayinonu commits to Maryland football

The three-star JuCo prospect is the first commit of 2019 for Mike Locksley.

Maryland v Rutgers Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Sam Okuayinonu, a 6’3, 270-pound defensive end from Mesabi Range College in Minnesota, announced his commitment to the University of Maryland on Saturday night.

Just over one day into his official visit to Maryland, Okuayinonu felt comfortable enough to pick the Terrapins over Memphis, South Florida and UMass. He also had offers from power five schools such as Syracuse and Oregon, with the Ducks looking like favorites in late 2018.

As the Duluth News Tribune detailed, Okuayinonu arrived in the United States from Liberia for high school and originally chose to play soccer until his senior season, when his size was simply too fit for football. A lackluster senior year led him to attend community college in Massachusetts, but after watching ‘Last Chance U’ on Netflix, Okuayinonu saw similar potential in himself.

Okuayinonu arrived in Virginia, Minnesota, to play in the 2018 season, where he truly broke out, finishing the year with 62 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks. He earned First Team All-American honors at the JUCO level and was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Minnesota College Athletic Conference.

At Maryland, Okuayinonu will classify as a redshirt sophomore and have three seasons of eligibility.

The Terps’ class now has 12 commits, with Okuayinonu the first new addition of 2019. With the second signing period just a week and a half away, more commitments could soon follow.