Chima Okoli is another young, promising defensive lineman ready to battle for playing time this season. His strength, skills and size made him a formidable practice foe in 2007 as a member of the foreign team during his redshirt season. Okoli made considerable strides during his first year as a Nittany Lion and should be in the thick of the highly competitive situation at defensive tackle. Okoli earned first-team all-state and All-Tidewater accolades at Salem HS. One of seven children, Chima's second cousin is Emeka Okafor, the 2004-05 NBA Rookie-of-the-Year with the Charlotte Bobcats. Okoli is among six returning Nittany Lions from Virginia.
2007 Freshman Season
Okoli earned first-team Associated Press all-state, All-Tidewater Region and All-Virginia Beach honors for Coach Robert Jackson at Salem HS. During his senior campaign, he recorded 85 tackles and 15 sacks and received first-team All-Gameday Magazine accolades. He led Salem to Virginia division and regional championships. Okoli was instrumental in Salem allowing the second-fewest points and yards in Virginia Beach prep history. He was selected to play in the 2007 Virginia High School League All-Star game. He also threw the shot put and played basketball at Salem.
Full name is Chimaeze Odilichukwu Okoli. He is the son of Dr. Emeka Okoli and Glayds Okoli. His father is a Fulbright senior scholar and visiting professor, University of Abuja in Nigeria, who is a professor of mass communications and journalism at Norfolk State University. Chima has four older brothers -- Chimboyuim, Ebuka, Uche and Ebube -- and a younger sister, Oge. A second cousin is Emeka Okafor, the 2004-05 NBA Rookie-of-the-Year with the Charlotte Bobcats. Okoli has an interest in business and real estate. In his spare time, he likes to fish, play video games and volunteer. Born July 13, 1989 in Virginia Beach, Va.