Juco experience benefiting LB Orisakwe

At 6-foot and 215 pounds, outside linebacker Steve Orisakwe (Corsicana, Texas/Navarro College) isn’t the biggest linebacker. Put him in the weight room, however, and he’s competing with the big boys.

Orisawke holds the team record for skill-position players in the squat. Few guys his size -- or any size, for that matter -- can say they have squatted 675 pounds.

“When I squatted the first time, I was about 5-9 and 170 pounds. I think I squatted 400 pounds,” Orisakwe said. “My coaches were saying that something’s not right about that. At first, I didn’t really like the weight room, but I started to like lifting more and more. Since I’m an undersized linebacker, I feel that’s the only way to get an upper hand in being faster and stronger.”

Orisakwe is one of those players who loves to prove his critics wrong, and it’s been that drive that’s aided in the rise of his recruiting stock. As he and Navarro prepare for the final regular-season game of the season Saturday against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in Miami, Okla., Orisakwe is hoping to produce another solid performance that will attract additional college scouts.

Orisakwe currently has offers from Old Dominion and Grambling State, and he’s also hearing from Arkansas, Kansas, South Florida and Louisiana-Lafayette. Entering Saturday’s game, Orisakwe has 71 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

“I’m having a pretty good feel about Old Dominion,” Orisakwe said. “They came in at the beginning of the month and talked with me. I just liked the pitch they were selling me. It’s still kind of a new program, and I like that. My whole high school career, we were the new program. I like the experience of being the first.

Playing his high school ball at Dawson High School (Pearland, Texas), he heard that Dawson wouldn’t be a football power for years to come. A 2010 graduate, Orisakwe helped mold Dawson -- which opened its doors in the fall of 2009 -- into one of Texas’ most respected football programs. Dawson currently is the top-ranked team in Class 4A in Texas.

Orisakwe is excited about Navarro’s chances at a potential Southwestern Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC) championship, and he’s proud of the team’s 7-1 record and No. 7 ranking in the latest NJCAA poll. Most importantly, he’s using what he’s learned on the junior college level to become a more prepared FBS or FCS target.

“At first, going to junior college when I realized I wasn’t going to qualify, I thought this possibly could be the worst thing ever,” Orisakwe said. “When I got here and realized what actually goes on and how hungry it makes you when you get out, I realized it’s one of best decisions I ever made. I’ve really learned a lot.”