- Associated Press - Monday, August 23, 2010

FORT COLLINS, COLO. (AP) - Colorado State freshman linebacker Mike Orakpo wants to be just like his famous older brother.

And, yet, nothing like him.

Given his last name, the comparisons to former University of Texas standout Brian Orakpo, now a budding star linebacker with the Washington Redskins, are inevitable.

But Mike Orakpo hopes to be judged on his own merits, gauged on his own ability. That’s why he went to a different high school than his older sibling and now attends a different college, in a different conference, despite some Big 12 interest.

Nothing against the Orakpo name _ he cherishes the legacy and is quite close with his brother _ but Mike Orakpo wants to be assessed not by the name on his back but by his play on the field.

“I’m really not worried about trying to fill his shoes,” Mike Orakpo said. “I’m just trying to get into my own shoes.”

His quick first step and playmaking ability remind many of none other than Brian Orakpo, a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

It’s hardly a coincidence. Mike Orakpo does study film of his older sibling, looking for possible moves he can mimic.

And yet, as much as he’s trying to do what his brother did, he’s trying just as hard to carve out his own identity.

“I am” my own guy, Mike Orakpo said. “And I feel I will continue to establish my own name, so people can know my talents and what I can do as far as being Mike Orakpo.”

His brother respects that, admires it actually. Mike Orakpo has never wanted anything handed to him, never taken the easy route.

For that, Brian Orakpo feels like he played an important part. All those impromptu wrestling matches, where he “whipped” his little brother, made Mike Orakpo tougher.

Those video-game contests, where big brother wouldn’t back down, made him more determined.

Those were simple lessons in life, to be applied to the football field.

“I never take it easy on him. That’s how he got that competitive nature,” said Brian Orakpo, a Pro Bowler last season after an 11-sack rookie campaign. “He wants to do his own thing, that’s one thing I respect him for. He wanted to make a name for himself, and he’s doing well right now.”

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