David Oku, the 5-foot-10, 185 pound four-star running back from Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City, Ok., has thus far spurned the in-state schools and says his top six are Tennessee, USC, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois and Florida State. All of his favorites have offered, except for USC and Ohio State.
Scout.com's No. 8 running back says he has approximately 20 total scholarship offers, including rides from Oklahoma , Oklahoma State, Auburn, Tulsa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas Tech, among others.
Oku, who denies a leader, hasn't actually visited any of the schools in his top six, but will be attending the Tennessee spring game in April 19.
"I like that Tennessee has got the new West Coast offense," Oku said. "That really stands out. I think I'd fit in well in that offense because it's balanced and lets you catch and run and really utilizes the athletes."
Oku is also friends with Vols wide receiver Gerald Jones. "He tells me to do what's best for me," he said. "He says I shouldn't worry about anyone else. When I cut schools, especially Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, I heard some bad things being said about me and it's upsetting, but he says not to worry about any of that. He also told me to really get to know the coaches well and be honest and direct with them."
So why doesn't Oku have either the Sooners not Cowboys in his top six? "I had a tough time cutting them," he admitted. "I talked to my mom about it and we prayed about it and it felt like God was leading me in a different direction. It's nothing against Oklahoma or Oklahoma State."
Oku says that his mom will help him during the decision process. "She wants me to get out on my own and I'll go anywhere. Location just isn't' a factor for me," he said. "I also want to find a place where I'll feel comfortable living for the next four years."
He says he plans to visit all six of his favorite schools during the summer, but will likely not attend any camps.
Oku always followed Florida State as a youngster. "I loved the tradition and all the great players they had," he said. "Guys like Deion Sanders and Charlie Ward…they just had some amazing players.
"I also really like the new offense they are gonna be running and I think coach Jimbo Fisher is great," he said. "He's a great guy and I think that Florida State will get back and be like the old Florida State soon."
The team that Oku is most curious about next season is Illinois. "They are an up-and-coming team and I can't wait to see how they do next year," he said. "I'm curious to see if they are gonna be a one-year wonder. I want to be sure they are for real. It's one thing if a school like Florida State or Tennessee has a bad season, but Illinois doesn't really have the tradition or winning history like the others."
One team whose history really appeals to Oku is USC. "USC is tailback U," Oku said. "They have amazing tradition and history. Not just recently either, but even going back to guys like O.J. Simpson and Marcus Allen.
"I've talked to coach Pete Carroll and he said that they want to come out and see me," he said. "I guess they are just being careful because most guys in my area don't end up leaving Oklahoma."
Another team that has great tradition and Oku is excited about seeing play is Michigan. "Coach Rich Rodriguez is a great coach and I think he'll do good there," he said. "I don't know how long it'll take, but I think they'll turn Michigan around and get them to a level that coach Lloyd Carr couldn't get them to. They just need that absolute quarterback now to fit into coach Rod's style."
Oku is also high on Wolverine's rival, Ohio State. "I've gotten to know (offensive lineman) Micheal Brewster (2007 Buckeye signee) over at Facebook and we've been talking a lot," he said. "He told me a lot of good things about them and they also have really good tradition and produce top players every year. I like that they always are a winning team and they seem to be consistent every year."
Despite getting himself into a bit of academic trouble during his freshman year, Oku says he's now back on track. "I kind of let school fall through as a freshman," he admitted. "I didn't really take it seriously. It wasn't until my sophomore year that I started to believe that I could play college football and that's when I started working on getting my grades up. I had a 1.9 at the beginning of my junior year and now I have a 2.4. I'm working real hard and I'm gonna try to get everything done so that I can graduate in December."
Oku retook the ACT on April 12 after getting a 14 on his first try.
He finished his junior season (10-2) with 1,628 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on 182 carries.
"I have great vision," he said. "That's my biggest strength. I can also read defenses good and I have the ability to get by the defender. I think I'm a Joe McKnight (USC running back) type. I can be used in many different ways."
Oku says he can bench 280 pounds, squat 535 and vertical jump 31 inches. He also gives himself credit for a 4.5 forty.
"I'm hoping to grow about two more inches," Oku said. "If I keep taking my vitamins and stuff, I think it'll happen. I'm also trying to get faster and work on my quickness. I'm always trying to get better and in the off-season I've just focused on running and hitting the weights."