Kene Okonkwo (#98) played as a defensive linemen for the University of New Mexico. Okonkwo attended John Horn High School in Mesquite, Texas. During his first year of organized football, Okonkwo had 38 tackles (20 solo), 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, and a recovered fumble. One of Okonkwo’s best games came against eventual state champions, Allen High School, in the third round of the playoffs. Okonkwo had 2 tackles for loss and 7 total tackles (4 solo tackles). Okonkwo had another outstanding performance in John Horn High School’s first home playoff game. Okonkwo totaled 8 tackles (5 solo) and 2 tackles for a loss. Okonkwo also played basketball and competed in track and field (long jump).
Okonkwo had a successful career playing at the University of New Mexico. Though he started off slow, Okonkwo found playing time his freshman year where he recorded 5 tackles and 1 tackle for loss. Okonkwo battled a foot injury in 2015 but was able to recover and improve going into 2016. In 2016, Okonkwo played in 12 games recording 22 tackles and .5 sacks. Okonkwo said “ I had only one year experience playing football and that was my senior year of high school so I came into college with only 1 year of football under my belt.” In 2017, Okonkwo had 43 total tackles (19 solo, 24 assisted), and 6 tackles for a loss. Finishing his career with 72 total tackles, 8.5 for a loss, and 1.5 sacks.
Okonkwo said his toughest competition came against Air Force quarterback, Arion Worthmon. Okonkwo had 8 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss during the game. Okonkwo explained his preparation process saying, “Film, film and more film that’s all I did that week was watch those guys and how they played and try to find places where I could have an edge.” Okonkwo was able to use his fast hands to shed the blocks and make plays during key moments in the game.
Okonkwo is beginning the training process as he prepares for Pro Day. Okonkwo Is preparing for Pro Day by learning, growing and preparing his mind. Okonkwo explains, “it’s all about developing mental toughness.” Okonkwo was able to show the nation that he deserved to play football in the next level. Okonkwo was able to be a sponge and absorb all of the information he could throughout college. He was able to improve each and every aspect of his game during his career at the University of New Mexico. Okonkwo has the opportunity to prove himself to NFL scouts one final time as he competes in his Pro Day. The next time you hear or see Kene Okonkwo, he will be playing in the NFL. The young man is talented and if he keeps improving like he has been he has a bright future ahead of him.