After making a successful transition from defense to offense in the spring of 2010, Chima Okoli began the season No. 2 at right tackle to returning starter Lou Eliades. But, when Eliades suffered a season-ending injury against Temple, Okoli got the nod and went on to flourish in his new role, starting eight of the last nine games. He has had a successful spring and off-season, building off last year's experiences and preparing to anchor the right side of the offensive line. Okoli brings very good skills, size and strength to the field and has made tremendous progress in his overall game. As one of three returning senior starters on the offensive line, he will be counted on for a higher level of leadership and productivity this fall. A potential All-Big Ten candidate, Okoli was instrumental in Penn State allowing only 12 sacks last season, tied for No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 13 in the nation for fewest sacks allowed. One of the squad's most out-going personalities, Okoli earned first-team all-state and All-Tidewater accolades at Salem HS. One of seven children, his second cousin is Emeka Okafor, the 2004-05 NBA Rookie-of-the-Year with the Charlotte Bobcats. Okoli joins teammates Evan Hailes and Kevin Newsome in the long line of Penn Staters from the talent-rich Tidewater Region of Virginia. Okoli graduated in May after compiling a 3.51 grade-point average for Dean's List honors during the spring semester.
2010 Senior Season
Shifted from defensive tackle to the offensive line during 2010 spring practice, Okoli was thrust into the starting lineup at right tackle when Lou Eliades suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Temple game. Okoli grabbed ahold of the position, starting eight of the last nine games. He was instrumental in Penn State allowing only 12 sacks last season, tied for No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 13 in the nation for fewest sacks allowed. Okoli played a critical role in helping the Nittany Lions gain 350 or more yards nine times, topped by 528 yards in the historic 35-21 comeback win over Northwestern. The Lions ran for a season-high 260 yards against the Wildcats, with two 100-yard rushers, and threw for 268 yards. Okoli helped Penn State gain 496 yards against Indiana and 435 yards against Michigan, scoring 41 points in both victories. Okoli saw action on 625 snaps, topped by 90 and 82, respectively, in the wins over Northwestern and Michigan.
2009 Junior Season
Okoli played in seven games, providing depth and steady play on the defensive interior line for one of the nation's top units. He recorded a tackle in the season-opener against Akron.
2008 Sophomore Season
Okoli played in eight games, providing depth and steady play for one of the nation's top defenses. He made his first career stop in a 55-13 victory at Syracuse. Okoli was on the field for 84 snaps, topped by 17 each against Coastal Carolina and Syracuse.
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 2005 NBA Rookie-of-the-Year with the Charlotte Bobcats. Okoli received his degree in advertising/public relations in May 2011 and is enrolled in media studies this semester. He compiled a 3.51 grade-point average for Dean's List honors last spring. In his spare time, he likes to fish, play video games and volunteer. Born July 13, 1989 in Virginia Beach, Va.