Hillgrove is sending another player to the NFL.
The Tennessee Titans selected former Hawks and Maryland standout Chigoziem Okonkwo with the final selection of the fourth round, No. 143 overall, in the 2022 NFL Draft.
“It’s time to keep going. This isn’t the end, let’s go,” Okonkwo said on social media following his selection. “Hey Titan Nation. I’ll see you. We’re going to fall in love the next four years.”
A former three-star recruit coming out of high school in 2018, Okonkwo started seven games over his freshman and sophomore seasons with the Terrapins. He missed the entire 2020 season because of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, but flourished this past season becoming one of the favorite targets of quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa.
Okonkwo caught 52 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns while starting all 13 games. He set career highs for catches in a game, 12, Nov. 6 against Penn State, and for receiving yards with 112, the next week against Michigan State. He earned honorable mention all-Big Ten honors.
At the NFL combine, Okonkwo ran the fasted time in the 40-yard dash of any tight end at 4.52 seconds. At 6-foot-2 1/2, 238-pounds, he is also considered a candidate to play H-back or fullback if needed.
“He has the right mindset, mentality,” Maryland tight end coach Mike Miller told SB Nation. “He’s a weapon. He can block, he can catch, run routes and he’s dynamic with the ball in his hands.”
Okonkwo is the first Maryland tight end to be drafted since 2009 and only the third, joining Dan Gronkowski and Vernon Davis since 2006.
He becomes the fourth former Hillgrove player currently on an NFL roster. Okonkwo joins linebacker Bradley Chubb, who is entering his fifth season with the Denver Broncos, sixth-year tight end Evan Engram with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and seventh-year running back Kenyan Drake with the Las Vegas Raiders.