49ers sign Olympian Lawrence Okoye
Lawrence Okoye was passed on by all 32 NFL teams up to the seventh round, but he was later reached by the San Francisco 49ers who signed him as an undrafted free agent. The 21-year-old Lawrence Okoye initially announced the signing via his twitter account on Saturday.
“Proud to announce that I will be signing with the San Francisco 49ers!" Lawrence Okoye tweeted.
Lawrence Okoye will have a lot of catching up to do when OTAs and mandatory minicamp begins in June. He hasn’t played an game of American football in his entire life and only made the switch from discuss throwing to NFL only a few months ago.
"I am blessed with abilities and I want to make the best of them. I have this opportunity to play football now, so I will address it now,” Lawrence Okoye said last week. “There is time for the discus. There is time for college and the law. I have many goals and only one life. I want to pursue my goals, my dreams."
However, Lawrence Okoye still managed to impress NFL talent scouts at the Super Regional Combine in Dallas, displaying remarkable sprint speed and explosive power for a man of his size.
The San Francisco 49ers drafted several high-risk and potentially high-reward players with the 11 picks they had in the 2013 NFL draft. The 6-6, 304-pound Lawrence Okoye is just one of those players who will be in hopes of proving a quick learner and groom his undoubted physical gifts to make the final 54-man roster for the 2013 regular season.
"He's just an Adonis," San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of Lawrence Okoye. "Just a great physical specimen of a man. Our Creator created a beautiful man."
Before opting for the NFL, Lawrence Okoye had his eyes set on the Rio Olympics in 2016. Last year Lawrence Okoye finished fifth in world rankings during his second senior season as a discus thrower. Lawrence Okoye’s discus coach especially believed that young athlete had a future in the sport and was at the point of emerging as an elite discus thrower after he finished 12th in the final of 2012 London Olympics.
"He was on the verge of breaking through, in my opinion, to being the best in the world," John Hillier said of Lawrence Ojoye earlier this month. "I would like what's in his best interests and I honestly believe it would be in his best interests to stay in the sport."