NFL player returns back to FAMU


Former Florida A&M left tackle Robert “Big Rob” Okeafor is back on the highest of the seven hills with a different agenda – to graduate.

Okeafor played football for FAMU from 2007-2010. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie free agent in April 2010 after earning All-American honors at the Football Championship Subdivision level before entering the NFL draft.

Okeafor said he wants his degree, which is an accomplishment he can be proud of.

“One of the main reasons I chose to come back to school was because I wanted to promise myself that I would graduate,” he said.

Okeafor was known on the field for his versatility, playing both left and right tackle positions. He also maintained a positive relationship with his teammates.

“My first impression of Big Rob when I saw him was, ‘I see why they call him Big Rob,” said Alex Ajayi, a former teammate. “But overall, he’s really a cool guy.”

Okeafor has been playing football since high school, but his first passion was basketball.

“I was always too big to play Pop Warner, so I fell in love with basketball,” he said.

Tianna Sparks, a former FAMU student and friend of Okeafor, had her assumptions about him when they first met.

 “When I met Big Rob, I thought he was a regular jock – all muscle; no brains. But he’s different. He’s one of the most humble and down-to-earth persons I’ve ever met.”

Okeafor no longer plans on pursuing a professional football career.

“After I graduate, I want to explore a career in coaching,” Okeafor said. “I love the mix between being around the game, but I also enjoy helping young men develop.”

He encourages anyone who has a dream to pursue it.

“Never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something,” Okeafor said. “Try it and see for yourself first.”