Nyrobi Akai has a big support system behind him in his pursuit for a college education and college football career. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he’s not just doing it all for himself, he’s doing it for his family.
“…I don’t really let things get to my head, just stay humble. I have huge family support: aunties, grandparents, cousins, everyone around me supports me a lot so family plays a big part for me because I’m doing it for me but I’m also doing it for them. The investment that they made to stand by me through everything that I’ve gone through. Family plays a huge part.”
Akai is working as hard as he is to repay his mother for all of her hard work and sacrifice. To him, she is the most important person in his life.
Nyrobi Akai promised his mom that he would stay on the right path and he’s working toward getting everything that a college education could provide, for her.
“I promised her that I would do [that]. A promise to her that I would [go] in the right direction and the right direction starts with a college education so that’s what I’m working hard for.”
Along the way, however, doubt set in for Akai as he said personal things clouded his play on the field.
“Probably doubt. There was a time where I wouldn’t say I was a horrible loser but a lot of personal things [happened] where if you didn’t know me, you would be like ‘oh there’s no way this kid is going to do this, do that,’ I had a lot of doubt on my side,” he said.
He said there were a lot of people who doubted him but once he had conversations with people who were in his corner and they told him ‘you have to stay focused and do what you love, not what people [want] you to do,’ then, he overcame that adversity.
He lives in Santa Fe Springs, California but calls Carson, California home. He played for the Carson High School Colts in 2014 and 2015. He made it to the championship game with the 2014 team but lost 33-20 to Narbonne High School. See his junior year highlights here.
“Actually I grew up in Carson, California. I’ve been in Carson my whole life. It wasn’t until my mom got a new job that we had to come out here but I’d preferably be in Carson still. Carson means a lot to me. I have a lot of friends in Carson who have been in the NFL, went to USC and all over the place, Carson means a lot to me. There’s a lot of family in the Carson Colts and a lot of us went through Carson to go do great things so it’s [a] big brotherhood [in] Carson.”
Akai said Carson was a place where one kid could go to one elementary schools, another kid would go to another school and they all would meet up to play football together. That’s how the brotherhood and family atmosphere comes into play.
“It wasn’t really until I hit eighth grade. I knew I was good but I never knew my talent. With me being a big kid, I was also agile, quick, have the speed. A hybrid type guy. It wasn’t until eighth grade when I started playing defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, it wasn’t until [then] that I realized the talent that I had.”
As a senior at Santa Fe High School, he wants to win a state title as a chief. He had some struggles with grades his sophomore and junior years but is optimistic about his senior on that front.
The recruiting process for Nyrobi Akai, who is ranked a two-star defensive tackle by scout.com, has picked up since last year. Despite only having one scholarship offer from New Mexico Highlands, he’s been actively talking to coaches and putting in work on the field.
He won the MVP honor at USC’s defensive linemen camp in June.
“College football, I always loved football but I never really saw myself going to college for it until probably 10th grade going into 11th-grade year. Once I found out colleges were looking at me, I was like man I have to pick it up. Since 11th grade, my grades have been good but I had to make up for ninth and 10th grade. Other than that, finishing up this class and a lot of colleges said some offers should be coming in.”
USC is his dream school. He’s been on USC’s campus plenty of times. He’s gone to games, he has friends there and he feels comfortable. You add also that he’s a local recruit, which bodes well for him and his family.
“…It’s local, it’s close to home, and I don’t have to worry about being such and such miles away from my family if something happened to me. It’s around the corner so it’s just that home feeling [I like] and they know I’m close.”
He said that if they were to offer him he would end his recruitment with the caveat that he and his family have to be 100 percent on board with that decision. He has to do his own research as the recruit.
Here’s what Akai believes he can bring to a university not only on the field but off of it as well.
“Leadership. I’m not saying I’m going to walk in as a freshman and try and take over the team. I’m not saying that. I mean…example wise, leading by example. Constantly working, constantly working hard. Another thing I’ll bring is a winning attitude. I hate losing,” he said. “You’ll get a great athlete, a guy who can play multiple positions on the field. You’ll get a hard-working student because looking back at my ninth and 10th-grade years and seeing how I’m still trying to make up classes, I don’t have any room to mess around.”
He added he can only give 110 percent in his senior year at Santa Fe. He said that they are by far the best program he has been a part of because of the player-coach dynamics. When they want to joke around and have fun, they do that. When it’s time to play football and handle business, they handle it.
“Going forward, I’m in college so I really can’t mess around. You’re not going to get someone who’s going to come in and loaf, someone who’s going to [take] plays off because I don’t have time. You’ll get someone who’s guaranteed to give you a winning attitude, guaranteed to give you everything you ask.”