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Mike Orakpo Tries to Make His Own Name

Updated: Friday, September 27 2013, 03:09 PM CDT

Some players try hard to escape extra work. Mike Orakpo uses extra work as an escape.

"It's my sanctuary," says Orakpo. "It's my time just to take my mind off everything."

And last season, Orakpo's oasis was as much of a waiting room as a weight room. He endured a year away from the game as his career had to iron out.

"It was definitely a humbling experience," admitted Orakpo.

Orakpo had to sit out last season after leaving Colorado State. He played two years for the Rams, but was dismissed from the team and expelled from the university after his role in an off campus brawl.

"That's not my character," Orakpo proclaimed. "At the time, I was just hoping I would get second opportunity."

Orakpo got a second chance at Texas State when Bobcats head coach Dennis Franchione got his own second chance. See Coach Fran recruited Mike's older brother, Brian, during his days at Texas A&M. Instead of playing for the Aggies, the older Orakpo went on to be an All-American at Texas. Franchione made sure he didn't miss out on two Orakpos.

"Brian is playing for the Redskins and he couldn't help me anymore," joked Franchione. "So I've got the one that's active in college and that's great for me."

Even though he'll always be compared to his older brother, Mike says he's out to make his own Orakpo name. In fact, Brian is not even his football idol.

"My favorite player has always been Ray Lewis," Mike admitted.

Brian Orakpo stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 257 pounds. That's a mighty large shadow for Mike to try and escape. But by getting to San Marcos, he's already gotten around a pretty dark place.

"You know, young people make mistakes," Franchione said. "I'm all for second chances as long as you know that their character is good and they're solid people."

"Your experiences, your past, your trials and tribulations - those are things that make you who you are," Orakpo said.

All that extra time in the weight room was worth it, as Orakpo not only worked-out to get better - he also had the weight of his past to lift off his shoulders.

by Adam Winkler
Mike Orakpo Tries to Make His Own Name


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