As the final month slips away before he reports to Notre Dame for
summer workouts, Romeo Okwara has an advantage to help him prepare
physically and mentally for college football.
Just five minutes from his home lives Notre Dame linebacker Prince
Shembo. And ever since Shembo returned to Charlotte, N.C., the two
former Ardrey Kell High School standouts have been working out
Shembo is still rehabbing from surgery he underwent in April for turf
toe, but the rising junior has been guiding the incoming freshman.
“He's teaching me the way to lift and do the lifts properly,” Shembo
said. “He's a big help for me.”
The two have known each other since Shembo's high school days when he
played with Okwara's older brother. The relationship between the two
will be beneficial as Okwara transitions to life at Notre Dame. He's
guaranteed to know at least one person when he makes the 500-mile move
to South Bend.
“We've been around each other all the time hanging out,” Okwara said.
“It's good to have that relationship with him.”
While Shembo is still in a walking boot and going through rehab on his
foot he can fill the role of an instructor of the Notre Dame offseason
“He's always there when I need help with anything,” Okwara said. “He's
told me a lot about Notre Dame and he's going to help me when I get
Okwara has been soaking up any advice that Shembo's been willing to
give. Shembo's best advice: “Come into the summer in as good of shape
as I can because it's going to be very competitive,” Okwara said.
At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, Okwara's put on 10 pounds of muscle since
the end of his senior season. He said the workouts are going well and
he wouldn't consider them tough because he likes being in the gym.
He recently found out he'll be rooming with incoming freshman
defensive end Jarron Jones when he heads to South Bend on June 15.
Okwara said he's anxious to get to know the rest of his teammates when
he gets on campus.
“I've met a lot of them and they seem like really good guys,” Okwara
said. “I'm just really looking forward to building that relationship
Okwara will enter the 2012 season as an outside linebacker with the
goal of fitting in while trying to make an impact.
“I'm just trying to go in with the right mind and be ready to compete
with all the college athletes that are there,” he said.