River Rouge (Mich.) defensive end Ruke Orhorhoro took a liking to Clemson when he was a younger kid who enjoyed playing the NCAA Football video game.
“When the first NCAA game came out, we used to play it all the time,” Orhorhoro told TCI. “I used to play with Michigan and teams like that, and my brother would always pick Alabama. And I was just trying to look for the team that would beat Alabama, so I played him with Clemson and I beat him.
“So after that I did a little research, and ever since I was little, ever since the NCAA game, it’s been a dream school of mine.”
Fast forward to the present, and Orhorhoro has the opportunity to play for Clemson in real life if he chooses.
Clemson extended a scholarship offer to him late last month.
“It was amazing. I was speechless,” Orhorhoro said of getting the offer. “I was just sitting there like wow, this is the national champs. They have high graduation rates. It was big for me because they have one of the top business schools in the country, and they’re ranked like 20th out of all the top public schools in the nation. That’s big because they’re a good football school and have great education, so really it was like everything they do fits me.”
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables followed up the offer with a visit to Orhorhoro’s school last Wednesday.
Orhorhoro (6-5, 263) had been communicating with Venables for about a month before Venables informed him of the offer on April 27.
“We’ve been talking for a while now,” Orhorhoro said. “We got on the phone, and he told me he really likes me and how they think I can come in and make an impact. So, he broke the news to me and I was just shocked.”
Orhorhoro is now looking to visit Clemson in the near future.
“I’m planning to go down there real soon,” he said. “Distance is really not a factor in my recruitment, so I’m going to get down there and see what it’s all about.”
Although he didn’t begin playing football until last season, Orhorhoro has already collected close to 25 offers. Michigan State most recently offered this month, joining Michigan, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Iowa, Iowa State, Boston College, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Purdue, Syracuse and others on his list.
Orhorhoro, a native of Nigeria, cited Clemson, Indiana and Kentucky as a few of the schools standing out right now.
He wants to take some more visits before he makes his decision toward the end of the summer.
“I’m trying to get down to a couple more schools and visit some schools a couple more times just to see what it’s really about,” he said. “And then after that I’ll make my decision before August or maybe even in July.”
Orhorhoro is focused on the big picture as he evaluates his college options.
“I’m not really into all the flashy stuff,” he said. “The flashy stuff is good, but I want to know who I’m going to be with every day, if I’m going to be in the locker room with great people, great coaches who stand on great core values and stuff like that.
“I’m pretty much just looking for a great place all-around because that’s where I’m going to spend the next three to five years of my life, and that decision is going to carry me on for the next 40 years of my life. So you’ve got to sit down and think, is this where I really want to spend the next three to five years of my life.”
As a junior in 2017, Orhorhoro recorded double-digit sack and tackle-for-loss totals. He played basketball at Trillium Academy in Taylor, Mich., before transferring to River Rouge and playing his first season of football last year.