Kirby Smart’s awesome recruiting week just got a little better. The latest good news for the top Dawg was today’s commitment from Marietta defensive end Azeez Ojulari, who picked the Red and Black over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Tennessee among others.
Clemson and Florida had pushed hard for the 6’4, 230 pound rising senior and appear to have led the sweepstakes for his services at one time or another. As recently as last month a significant number of recruiting analysts still had Olujari pegged to become a Gator.
But in the end the chance to stay close to home and a depth chart conducive to early playing time won over this Blue Devil. Ojulari is rated the #6 defensive end in America and the #15 player in the Peach State in the 247Sports composite rankings.
Remember however that those rankings are an aggregation of several recruiting services’ rankings. 247Sports’ own rankings tab Ojulari as the 3rd best defensive end in the country and the 4th best prospect in Georgia. That’s a pretty significant divergence.
I don’t know that the son of Nigerian immigrants will wind up as the #4 plyer in the state, when the final rankings come out you should not be far from it. Ojulari is a rare combination of size, strength, and speed, the type of elite athlete you need to get on campus in numbers to build an SEC Championship contender.
Ojulari will move back to outside linebacker once he arrives in Athens (he does not plan to early enroll). The closest comparison to a current Bulldog I could make would be to Lorenzo Carter, who happens to be a role model of Olujari’s, to the point that he hopes to wear Carter's #7 jersey once he arrives in the Classic City. He already bench presses 330 and squats 500 pounds, impressive numbers for a guy who still won’t set foot on campus for eleven months.
Another interesting point about Ojulari that bears mentioning is that he actually has a younger brother, BJ, a rising sophomore at Marietta. at 6’4 at 215 pounds, BJ may even be more athletic at the same stage than his older brother. Signing Azeez wouldn’t guarantee signing BJ, but it doesn’t hurt.
And besides, Kirby Smart doesn’t have to wait until 2020 for more recruiting news. That’s because Peach County receiver Kearis Jackson will be announcing his decision on Saturday. Jackson, likely the top instate receiver for 2018, has long been viewed as a Georgia lean, if not a silent commit. Jackson is also a close friend of Harrison quarterback Justin Fields, maybe the highest ranked target remaining on the Bulldog board.
Ojulari’s pledge moves the ‘Dawgs up to #31 in 247Sports’ 2018 rankings, and adding Jackson would likely push them inside the top 25. This with as many as 10 of the top 150 players in the nation still solid a solid possibility to commit to the G. Right now, it’s Kirby’s recruiting trail, the rest of us are just watching him cruise down it. Until later...