The Oklahoman’s Super 30: Meet David Rowaiye, Southeast’s first Division-I recruit since Gerald McCoy

The mural is impossible to miss. 

Painted inside on a wall at the front of Southeast High School is a massive picture of Gerald McCoy. It's representing one of the best athlete in school history who was also one of the best high school football players in state history. 

It serves as a constant reminder of Southeast’s past while inspiring others to try and leave their legacy behind. 

The Spartans haven’t produced a dominant Power-5 recruit since McCoy, but that’s about to change. 

“I don’t think about it too much because I’m trying to pave my own way,” David Rowaiye said. “But sometimes when I just go in the office and see (the painting), I’m just like, ‘Dang, that’s really cool.’”

Rowaiye, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive lineman, is that recruit. He’s No. 25 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 rankings of the state’s top high school recruits in the 2022 class.

“It’s really just a blessing.”

Southeast High School defensive lineman David Rowaiye is the school's first D-I football recruit since former OU star Gerald McCoy.

Rowaiye’s path to becoming a football star began when he was in middle school. 

He didn’t start at Southeast until his sophomore year. His freshman year and middle school days were spent at Deer Creek.

Jacob Sexton, a current senior at Deer Creek, and Rowaiye were close friends. Sexton encouraged Rowaiye to come play football and to wrestle instead of playing basketball. Rowaiye obliged and quickly fell in love with football.

He continued growing into his freshman year, then came the move to Southeast. It didn’t take long for coach Kenny Blair to realize how special Rowaiye was. 

“He has got a lot of potential,” Blair said. “He’s his own person. He’s a well-rounded kid, academically and in the game of football. He knows that he is a leader.”

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That leadership is something Blair says is on display every day.

Rowaiye often comes in for extra workouts and pushes others to join him. He’s not afraid to be vocal, but his actions always back up his words. 

Before this season began, Rowaiye said he considered switching his jersey from No. 99 to No. 93, which was McCoy’s number, but decided against it. 

McCoy’s Spartan legacy is set. 

Rowaiye is working to make his own. 

He originally played tight end, but when Rowaiye switched to defensive end, his new number was an easy choice. 

“JJ Watt was my favorite player growing up,” Rowaiye said. “I still watch videos of him all the time.”

Watt dominates opponents with his brute strength, impressive athleticism and putting himself in the best position to be successful. 

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Southeast High School defensive lineman David Rowaiye is the school's first D-I football recruit since former OU star Gerald McCoy.

Each of those qualities are something Rowaiye continues to develop. Colleges are taking notice. 

Baylor was his first offer in February. Eastern Michigan and New Mexico have also extended offers. Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have hosted Rowaiye for workouts and stay in contact.

And his recruitment is far from over.

McCoy is synonymous with Southeast football. His contributions as a player followed by his success in college and the NFL left his mark. 

Rowaiye is aware of McCoy’s achievements, yet he doesn’t want to follow in McCoy’s footsteps.

Rowaiye wants to forge his own path. 

“I really don’t think I’ve done that much of anything yet,” Rowaiye said. “I’m just thankful for God and the people who have helped get me to this point, but there’s work to be done.”

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The Oklahoman’s 2022 Super 30

Name: David Rowaiye

School: Southeast

Super 30 ranking: No. 23

Ht.: 6-foot-5 | Wt.: 250 pounds

Position: Defensive line

Recruited by: Baylor, Eastern Michigan, New Mexico

About the series

The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2022 class. The series continued Sunday with No's 26 and 25, Tahlequah's Eli McWilliams and Southeast’s David Rowaiye. See No. 24 on the list in Monday’s editions of The Oklahoman.

Here are the last five players we’ve featured:

No. 29: Lane Parks, OL, Yukon

No. 28: Junior Smith, WR/DB, Tulsa Union

No. 27: Davis Dotson, OL, Berryhill

No. 26: Eli McWilliams, LB, Tahlequah

No. 25: David Rowaiye, DL, Southeast

Reporter Cameron Jourdan covers high school sports across the Oklahoma City metro and state. Have a story idea for Cameron? He can be reached at or on Twitter at @Cam_Jourdan. Support Cameron’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at or by using the link at the top of this page.