London-born NFL Academy prospect Timi Oke has announced his commitment to Division 1 college football program Northwestern; Oke becomes one of more than 40 Academy products to receive a football scholarship in the United States.
Thursday 30 November 2023 09:35, UK
London-born Timi Oke has committed to playing college football at Division 1 Northwestern University as one of the latest NFL Academy prospects to take his talents to the United States.
Oke has only been playing American Football for a year after joining the Academy in 2022 on the encouragement of his mother, Shola, in light of his athletic ability having grown up playing soccer and running track.
The cornerback, who was born in the UK but has Nigerian heritage, becomes the first Academy product to sign with a Big Ten Conference team, where he will encounter some of the biggest schools in the country.
"It's something that hasn't sunk in, I can't put it into words to be honest," Oke told Sky Sports NFL. "For me after a year to be going on to play Division 1 football at a Power 5 programme, Big Ten football is amazing.
"It's something you dream about, I'm thankful I've been able to do it in this short space of time."
The NFL Academy is an elite pathway programme that was first established at Barnet and Southgate College in September 2019 before since relocating to Loughborough University. It offers athletes aged 16-19 from around the world the opportunity to receive coaching within a professional set-up while also gaining an education.
Oke will join more than 40 Academy students that have earned college football scholarships in the United States, among which 15 alumni played college football during the 2023 academic year.
"I'm so excited, I can't wait to get started, I'm itching to play. The fans in Big Ten are ridiculous, you play the biggest and the best... Michigan holds 107,000 people, Penn State around the same, then there's Ohio State.
"Northwestern fans are unbelievable as well, wherever I play it will be an atmosphere to remember. I owe it to the Academy for making sure I'm ready for that environment."
The Academy currently holds 62 student athletes from 13 difference countries across Europe and Africa.
Oke's commitment arrives no long after offensive lineman Daniel Akinkunmi announced his commitment to the Oklahoma Sooners having received more than 30 Division 1 offers.
Fellow Academy graduate Darren Agu has just played his second season at Vanderbilt, Peter Clarke is coming off his first campaign at Temple, Kofi Taylor-Barrocks is located at Deion Sanders' Colorado, Freddie Pelling is at the University of Hawai'i and Emmanuel Okoye is settling into life at Tennessee.
The Academy is beginning to make its presence felt at an increasing rate as it continues to bridge the transatlantic gap.
"This is another proud day for the NFL Academy as Timi commits to a great program and the entire team could not be happier for him," said Lamonte Winston, Head of the NFL Academy.
"Timi has worked so hard to learn the game and develop his skills with our coaches and support staff at Loughborough College and is a great credit to the NFL Academy. We wish him well at Northwestern and in the years to come."
Oke, who earned eight Division 1 offers this year, notably ran an NFL Academy-record 4.48 in the 40-yard dash in March.
The Academy recently beat US opposition in back-to-back games as it took down IMG Academy White, before beating Brooklyn high school Erasmus Hall at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
NFL Academy is recruiting for the next academic year, if you want to learn more about this life-changing opportunity, click here to find out how to apply https://www.nflacademy.com/.
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