Daniel Akinkunmi’s 5,000-mile Oklahoma Sooners official visit

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Offensive lineman recruit Daniel Akinkunmi stayed up all night time earlier than his official go to to see the Oklahoma Sooners this previous weekend.

It wasn’t as a result of he could not sleep from anticipation or pleasure, although. It was out of necessity. Akinkunmi was touring from Loughborough, England, to Oklahoma in what would quantity to twenty hours of journey time and 4,562 miles logged in in the future to see the Sooners in individual.

“I’ve a technique any time I journey to the states. The night time earlier than, I do not sleep,” Akinkunmi advised ESPN. “I keep up till my flight, then sleep a pair hours on my flight and attempt to keep awake to get used to the time change. That helps me out so after I come to the U.S. I will not be jet lagged.”

Akinkunmi, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman from the NFL Academy in England, is a three-star prospect in 2024 and has garnered scholarship presents from Arkansas, Baylor, Duke, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Ole Miss and a handful of different main packages. Due to the place he lives, his recruitment has had some distinctive twists, like spending 20 hours simply to take an official go to.

His journey to Oklahoma was his second official go to, with the primary going to Baylor, however his seventh time in america general.

“The NFL Academy takes us on journeys to the states annually,” Akinkunmi stated. “The NFL plans per week or two-week lengthy journey, they choose just a few folks from the NFL Academy that they assume have that expertise. Then we go to a number of camp circuits and a number of unofficial visits.”

The annual journeys that sometimes happen within the spring. This season, additionally they had three video games they play in opposition to American groups.

They performed in opposition to IMG Academy varsity white workforce on June 10 in Loughborough, and on August 25, they performed Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast in Dublin. They are going to play Erasmus Corridor on Oct. 10, as nicely, in London. The Academy has European teenagers from the age of 16 to 19 attend their college and program, the place they’ve three years to study soccer. Akinkunmi is 18-years-old and now on the lookout for a brand new place to play soccer.

For his go to to see the Sooners, his day began by driving along with his mom three hours to the airport to make their 11:45 a.m. flight.

“From Atlanta, we needed to wait three hours, then Atlanta to Oklahoma Metropolis was about an hour and a half. Then we had a automotive decide us up and it was one other 20 to 25-minute drive to the resort in Norman,” Akinkunmi stated. “We left Thursday morning our time and acquired there Thursday night time round 9 p.m. My mother was completely drained, as quickly as we acquired there she went to mattress.”

Once they acquired to the resort room, Akinkunmi and his mom have been amazed at what was ready for them. Oklahoma branded playing cards and letters have been scattered all through the resort room together with treats, cookies and a cake with “OU” written on it to resemble a poker chip that coach Brent Venables offers to recruits. Venables offers the prospects a poker chip and, once they’re able to decide to Oklahoma, they offer it again as a logo that they’re “All in,” which is a mantra for Venables and his employees.

“It was superb,” Akinkunmi stated. “The best way they embellished the room, the snack desk, it was simply superb.”

As a result of he lives so far-off, he normally has to provoke contact with coaches by social media, change numbers after which attempt to discover methods to speak repeatedly regardless of a hefty time distinction. That may be troublesome and has taken time to handle when he can construct relationships and what number of occasions he can really contact a coach.

“As a result of I haven’t got a U.S. quantity but, we really FaceTime as a result of that is finished by WiFi,” Akinkunmi stated. “So, usually I FaceTime audio name them and typically I’ve to remain up till 1 a.m. my time to speak to coaches.”

Being on the Oklahoma go to and seeing the coaches in individual, it makes it that a lot simpler for him and his mom to get an thought of who the coaches are and the way they work together with their gamers. Each Akinkunmi and his mom got here away impressed with Venables and his employees and what they have been in a position to present him on the journey. From the stadium to jerseys, coaches’ workplaces, the locker room and the power, Akinkunmi was amazed by the journey.

“It was unreal. Any time I meet a coach in individual,” Akinkunmi stated. “The FaceTime name … it is by no means the identical as seeing somebody in individual and really speaking to them in individual. Simply seeing them in individual is a giant reduction realizing they’re really actual and making that connection even stronger.”

He jokes that he is aware of the coaches are actual, however it’s reassuring realizing the scholarship is actual, and he is not being catfished by somebody pretending to be a coach in america.

The NCAA modified a rule to permit prospects a vast variety of official visits, so Akinkunmi may theoretically see as many faculties as he’d like. The 20-hour journey days find yourself being enjoyable, albeit tiring, however Akinkunmi has taken his final go to and can make his determination on Oct. 12.

He has a prime 5 of Oklahoma, the Baylor Bears, Miami Hurricanes, Ole Miss Rebels and Clemson Tigers, and may have just a few extra FaceTime connections and lengthy journey days.

For one weekend, Akinkunmi acquired to expertise every thing he needed to and says it was extraordinary journey circumstances have been value it. If nothing else, he acquired to strive Wagyu steak for the primary time and the thrill in his voice describing the steak might be felt by the telephone.

“It was superb,” Akinkunmi stated. “It was a 12-ounce steak, and I am simply pleased I wasn’t the one which needed to pay for it.”

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