SMYRNA — Ikenna Okeke had it down to Texas A&M and Notre Dame.
But Texas A&M felt like home.
The Smyrna senior committed to the SEC school on Wednesday, becoming the second Rutherford County football player for the Class of 2016 to commit to an FBS program. La Vergne’s Chris Myers has committed to MTSU.
“It came back to A&M and Notre Dame,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder said. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s honestly a win-win situation. I just think the environment feels like home.”
Okeke is the second Midstate athlete to commit to Texas A&M for this recruiting class, joining Centennial linebacker Tyrel Dodson, a Class 5A Mr. Football winner.
Commitments are nonbinding for the athlete and the school. Okeke cannot sign until Feb. 3, 2016.
“I think it goes without saying that Tennessee talent is here,” Okeke said. “I knew that. The talent is here in Tennessee and it’s becoming known.”
Okeke, who was a two-way player for Smyrna, had 68 catches for 849 yards with three total touchdowns. At safety, he had 74 tackles, two interceptions and forced one fumble. He was recruited by Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis as a safety.
While not necessarily a goal to play in the SEC, the chance to play in the South was a plus for Okeke.
“I wouldn’t say it was a goal,” said Okeke, who wants to study sports management. “But as a kid growing up in the Southeast, it was kind of a dream of playing in the SEC.”
Okeke, a three-star prospect according to 247Sports, chose Texas A&M over at least 18 other FBS offers.
Okeke was a key part to a Smyrna High program the last two seasons. He helped lead Smyrna to a 9-4 season this year and the Bulldogs advanced to the Class 6A state quarterfinals for the first time since they finished state runner-up in 2010.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.