UGA drops to third for Nigerian offensive lineman

OL Chidi Valentine-Okeke of Nigeria (AJC)

OL Chidi Valentine-Okeke of Nigeria (AJC)

So far, Mike Bobo’s departure as UGA’s offensive coordinator has had little or no immediate impact on players that the Bulldogs are recruiting for this year’s class.

But that may be changing at least indirectly with one top target, offensive lineman Chidi Okeke-Valentine of Faith Christian Academy, a private school in Stockbridge.

UGA was one of Okeke-Valentine’s leaders, but now the Bulldogs have dropped to third behind Alabama and Auburn, he explained to 247sports.com’s Ryan Bartow. Okeke-Valentine is friends with UGA offensive line coach Will Friend, who is leaving with Bobo for Colorado State.

“So my mind is slipping a little bit for them (UGA),” Okeke-Valentine said. “I’m trying to think about it. The coach recruiting me (Friend) is no longer there. Georgia is my home school. (People) always come to school every day wearing Georgia clothes. It’s close to home. I stay with my guardian (in suburban Atlanta). That’s the most important thing.”

Even before the UGA coaching changes, Okeke-Valentine’s recruiting was setting up for a crazy finish. He moved from Nigeria to Miami last year, and then was adopted by a family in Atlanta before the start of this football season.

Okeke-Valentine was originally rated as one of the state’s top prospects for next year, but now apparently will have the grades, core classes and test scores to sign with a college this year. He was a late invitee to the U.S. Army All-America Bowl. He measured in at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds.

UGA was already slipping after Okeke-Valentine took an official visit to Auburn at the beginning of December. He called it his “best visit ever.” He has also taken visits to Alabama and UGA.

He has tentatively scheduled to make his college decision a few times, but now says he will do it after his LSU official visit in a couple of weeks.


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