Amobi Okoye was born on June 10, 1987, in Anambra State, Nigeria. He moved to Huntsville, Alabama in the United States when he was 12 years old. After only spending two weeks in middle school, he tested into the 9th grade. He first started playing football as a sophomore at Lee High School, knowing virtually nothing about the sport before his high school coach suggested he played Madden NFL football to learn. By the time he was a senior, he won first-team All-State honours as both a defensive lineman and offensive lineman.
He plays as a defensive tackle for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). He was drafted by the Houston Texans tenth overall in the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at Louisville.
At age 15, Amobi chose the University of Louisville because of his passion to play for a strong football program.
At Louisville, he majored in biology. He later switched his major to psychology and graduated a semester early. Okoye completed his degree in three and a half years.
At 16, he became the youngest player in the NCAA. Okoye played in all 13 games as a true freshman at defensive tackle and was credited with 17 tackles and a sack. He recorded then-career-best three tackles against Tulane and recorded his first career sack against UTEP.
As a sophomore, he appeared in 11 of 12 games, recording 26 tackles and a sack. Okoye’s only missed game was against East Carolina, because of a shoulder injury. Okoye also made his first collegiate start against Army, recording a career-high seven tackles.
In his junior season of 2005, he recorded 23 tackles and four tackles for a loss. In the biggest game of the year, against the West Virginia Mountaineers, Okoye recorded four tackles. He missed the Florida Atlantic matchup due to a foot sprain. Against Kentucky, Okoye registered two tackles and a fumble recovery. Okoye also totaled three tackles against South Florida.
As a senior in 2006, Okoye started all 13 games, registering 55 tackles, eight sacks, and recovered three fumbles. He garnered Associated Press Second-Team All-American honors and first-team All-Big East honors. As the NCAA’s youngest senior at 19 years old.
During the Senior Bowl, Okoye’s stock rose dramatically with strong practice and game performances.
Amobi was drafted by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. He is the youngest player to ever be drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft at only 19 years old. He was the highest draft pick to come out of the University of Louisville since the AFL-NFL merger. He signed a five-year deal with the Texans on July 26, which allowed him to begin training camp with his teammates the next day. With his first start, Okoye became the youngest player to appear in an NFL game since 1967.
He was named Defensive Rookie of the Month for September 2007 after leading the AFC with four sacks. He is the youngest player ever to receive the award, and after playing for four seasons in Houston, he was released July 30, 2011,
Okoye signed with the Chicago Bears on July 30, 2011; and on April 7, 2007 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Okoye signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 7, 2012.
Okoye returned to the Bears on August 31, 2012. He later signed a one-year contract on September 3. He was waived on November 27, 2012, but was eventually brought back on December 12.
Amobi missed the 2013 NFL season due to what was referred to at the time as an “undisclosed medical issue”, Okoye signed with the Dallas Cowboys on May 16, 2014. On August 14, 2014, more details were revealed regarding his medical situation. Okoye had been diagnosed in March 2013 with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and was placed a medically induced coma to stabilize recurring seizures. He was cleared by doctors to play again, and is the first football player to attempt to come back from the disease.
On April 8, 2015, Okoye was released by the Cowboys.
Amobi Okoye shares the same surname as former Kansas City Chiefs fullback Christian Okoye, some sources have claimed that the two are related but he says they are not related.