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Brian Orakpo went to Lamar High School in Houston, becoming a top-notch defensive end before embarking on a stellar career with the Longhorns.

He paved the way for his younger brother to follow a similar path.

Yet Mike Orakpo flipped the script, attending Westbury High School in Houston, where he saw time at safety.

“I didn’t want it to be like I was getting things because of him,” explained the 6-foot-1, 208-pound Mike Orakpo, who’s three inches shorter and nearly 50 pounds lighter than his brother. “I wanted them to take me for being me, what they saw on film, rather than being someone else’s little brother. That’s why I took a different route.”

After a solid prep career, Mike Orakpo was recruited by schools such as Oklahoma State, Houston and Boise State. But Colorado State appealed to him, in part because he appreciated the way coach Steve Fairchild wanted him for his skills, not his lineage.

Now, Mike Orakpo doesn’t want to wait to make his own mark.

Instead of possibly a redshirt season, he’s pushing hard for playing time. He’s being used in 3-4 packages when the Rams employ four linebackers. His quickness will come in handy in a conference where a majority of the teams use a spread offense.

Mike Orakpo also may see action on special teams when Colorado State opens the season Sept. 4 against Colorado at Invesco Field in Denver.

“I’m coming in levelheaded,” said Orakpo, who enrolled at CSU in January and went through spring drills as a safety before relocating to linebacker. “I’m coming in like any other freshman would _ try to make an impact on the team as much as I can.”

He chats with his brother on a regular basis, picking up pointers and receiving little nuggets of advice just like he always has.

The best one?

“He told me to play every play like it’s your last,” Mike Orakpo said. “You can never go wrong with that.”

As for his last name trailing him, that simply can’t be helped. He’s approached all the time by people asking him if he’s related to Brian Orakpo.

Not that he minds. He’s very proud of his brother, the legacy he has established.

But Mike Orakpo is attempting to write his own chapter, in his own way, of course.

Story Continues →