British discus thrower-turned defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye is going all in on a chance to play in the NFL despite having a spot at Oxford Law School in England waiting for him. That is quite a choice to make.
Okoye is currently on the Miami Dolphins’ roster but is not guaranteed to stay there, and he has already been pursuing the NFL dream with stops with the Cardinals, Jets, Bears, Cowboys, and 49ers. Stacking the odds against Okoye is the roster depth the Dolphins have at his position. Despite the journey experienced thus far, Okoye is committed to making it in the NFL and putting his educational options to the side for now.
“I think it’s a process of humbling yourself and starting from the bottom,” Okoye said in a story published by ESPN. “Starting from scratch and having no name recognition, no clout and just building yourself up from the bottom.”
Timing will be key for Okoye, because the deadline to accept his summer reservation is approaching. After that, Oxford will fill the spot with someone else.
Okoye has a fascinating backstory, having grown up in London and set records in the discus throw. In 2013, he announced his plans to pursue the NFL despite having never played American football, and he signed with the 49ers after going undrafted.
It was just a few years ago another football player was faced with making a decision between an opportunity to attend Oxford or play in the NFL. In 2008, Florida State safety Myron Rolle was offered a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University. Instead of going to the NFL right away, Rolle put his NFL dream on hold to accept the scholarship. In 2010, Rolle reached the NFL as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans. After a few years in the NFL, Rolle retired and continued his education in medical school.
Rolle’s situation was different from Okoye’s because he was able to work out a way to attend Oxford and later continue his NFL career. Okoye’s situation is different because he is on the verge of passing up his spot in Oxford Law School, which is an opportunity that may not come around again.