Kenny Okoro from Dudley HS makes Wake travel squad for opener

from Rob Daniels News and Record and

WINSTON-SALEM – Kenny Okoro, a true freshman from Dudley High School, has impressed Wake Forest’s coaches enough to make the Demon Deacons’ season-opening trip to Baylor, coach Jim Grobe said today.

Inclusion on the active roster for Thursday’s game (8 p.m. Fox Sports Net South) does not guarantee Okoro, a cornerback, will play against the Bears. In fact, Grobe has used only 10 true freshmen in seven seasons on the job, and he’s loath to put a rookie close to the action in any form. Okoro will only be used in the event of emergency, but his presence on the travel squad suggests his development is ahead of the curve.

Okoro said he anticipated this sort of thing when he signed with Wake after helping the Panthers win a state title last season.

“A lot of schools had five defensive backs coming in,” he said. “Wake Forest only had one, and that was me.”

Okoro reported to campus for the second session of summer school and earned positive reviews from teammates during informal, player-directed passing drills in July. The academic ineligibility of Channing Schofield and a knee injury to Marcus Williams, both cornerbacks, elevated Okoro’s status from that of a conventional rookie to one who has at least an outside chance to play.

“Being coachable. That’s the best thing I have,” Okoro said. “Everybody has talent. I’m just able to be coached.”

The situation is similar to the one Wake faced during its run to the ACC championship two seasons ago. Attrition at running back compelled Josh Adams, then a true freshman, to make late-season road trips. Of Okoro, Grobe said, “He’s on the Josh Adams plan.”

Adams didn’t play that season, but he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 2007.
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