Mesabi Range's Sam Okuayinonu has verbally committed to play NCAA Division I football at Maryland, he announced Sunday via Twitter.
Okuayinonu, a defensive end whose circuitous path to major college football prospect was highlighted by the News Tribune in December, played one season for the Norsemen, amassing 17.5 sacks last fall to tie for the national lead.
Okuayinonu immigrated to the United States from the West African country of Liberia, when he was 13. In Lowell, Mass., he didn't play competitive football until his senior year of high school. He attended a community college in Mississippi, but a broken toe robbed him of a chance to make the school's football team.
Okuayinonu ultimately ended up at Mesabi Range in Virginia, where the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder dominated. The Minnesota College Athletic Conference defensive player of the year morphed into a coveted recruit and has spent the past few months visiting with college coaches.
Sunday, Okuayinonu decided on Maryland, a member of the Big Ten. The Terrapins went 5-7 in 2018.