Akinola Ogunbiyi: He might be the most interesting young man in the 2020 class
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. The play call here fits both an April Fool’s Day edition of the blog and a good name to know in 4-star Texas OL target Akinola Ogunbiyi.
Let’s start with an Intel mini-game. Which one of these statements does NOT apply to 4-star Texas 4-star OL prospect Akinola Ogunbiyi?
a) Has an 80-plus inch wingspan
b) Considers Georgia to be one of his top schools with local heavyweights like LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M even though he’s yet to visit Athens.
c) Was at one time committed to Texas A&M despite just starting to play football in 2016. He did not play any sports until his freshman year of high school.
d) Cites two favorite songs: “Escape” by Rupert Holmes and “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede.
e) Doesn’t have any pass protection film clips on his tape because his school threw the ball maybe three times last fall.
f) His first name has a silent “n” as in “Ah-Key-Ola” and his last name is “Oh-Gun-Bee” …. if your name is Brandon Adams and you host a show called “DawgNation Daily” for DawgNation.com.
g) Was born in America but has also lived in Chicago, London and Nigeria as a youth.
There is not an April Fool’s joke built into that pop quiz. Don’t sweat it. Every one of those statements applies to Mr. Ogunbiyi.
What will it take for Sam Pittman to get Ogunbiyi in red and black? Please kindly read on as we delve into the story behind the nation’s No. 12 OG prospect (per the 247Sports composite) for 2020.
“I think the biggest thing I like about Georgia is coach Pittman,” he said. “I want to play with a coach that I can laugh with but then at the same time knows when it is time to get serious. But then he’s not always serious. You know what I mean?”
Ogunbiyi recently placed Georgia among his top 6 schools. He will also be in Athens on April 6.
That is no joke, either.
— AKI® (@AkinolaOgunbiyi) March 28, 2019
Akinola Ogunbiyi: His team did throw three passes in 2018
As tempted as we are to start this passage off with the “The Pina Colada Song” from Holmes, there is an even more unusual football matter to attend to.
Yes, his Kempner High (Sugar Land, Tex.) did throw approximately three passes in 2018.
“I’ve never pass blocked in a game,” he said. “Have you watched my highlights? All we do is run. We really, I think, threw three passes last year.”
I guess that means the “Spread” offense has yet to spread across Texas yet. Ogunbiyi even said their pass sets look like the blockers are set for the run. They just take a step to the side and open up.
“I’ve never done [pass protection] in pads,” he said. “Because we don’t do that at my school at all. I only do pass pro in camps. I feel like in pads that I would be better.”
His running back last season ran for close to 2,000 yards in 2018. They ran a nice pull play behind Ogunbiyi. He said that is his favorite thing to do on a football field.
That said, he thinks he’s better at pass protection.
He’s looking for the school that has a track record for developing offensive linemen. That seems natural given he’s only been playing football since his freshman year.
The timing of this visit makes a lot of sense. For both UGA and for Ogunbiyi.
“I’m taking my official [to Oklahoma] the weekend after I go to Georgia,” Ogunbiyi said. “So they [the UGA staff] want me coming to Georgia first because they think I am going to commit to Oklahoma.”
If that unofficial visit to UGA goes well, then it will provide a few reasons to not feel compelled to commit to the Sooners on the following weekend. (That’s the same weekend recent UGA visitor Sedrick Van Pran plans his official to Oklahoma, too.)
Ogunbiyi has visited that campus two times but has never spent the night on campus. What does he like best about the Sooners?
“The area and the way they recruit,” he said. “It just feels like family over there and I have a lot of friends who are committed there right now.”
— AKI® (@AkinolaOgunbiyi) March 13, 2019
Here’s a little geography note: Oklahoma is 430 miles away from his home. UGA is right at 860 miles away.
Before we get caught in the rain: The obvious question
Let’s address this before anyone thinks that the author has half a brain.
He’s never been to Georgia. Ever. How in the world are the Bulldogs in this thing with all those area powers making him a priority?
“Because I know what they produce,” Ogunbiyi said. “That’s a huge factor. And I like Coach Pittman. … He’s a great guy.”
DawgNation has heard that before. That never seems to fall into the same old dull routine when it comes to elite offensive line prospects.
Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M made the top 6. He said he feels like the Bulldogs and the Sooners are coming after him the hardest right now.
Those two schools hit him up with daily contact. He feels it will be a really hard choice.
“To be honest, I think the way I am going to decide is where I feel the most comfortable at,” he said.
He “for sure” feels that he will make his college commitment before his senior season.
“Maybe by September,” he said. “Maybe.”
His family roots are in Nigeria. He said his first name means “Warrior.” The definition according to Online Nigeria means “brave and wealthy one.”
SATURDAY GRIND!!! pic.twitter.com/EBzRFJqB48
— AKI® (@AkinolaOgunbiyi) March 30, 2019
A location will not be a factor here for Akinola Ogunbiyi
In the midst of this football narrative, we do remember this is a person we are profiling here. Ogunbiyi’s mother, who he has lived all over the world with, recently suffered a stroke.
Aggy Ogunbiyi has been in therapy. He reports she has been recovering from that stroke.
That’s a lot for a young man who won’t turn 17 until this August to handle it.
Yet the 6-foot-4, 330-pounder has been blessed with broad shoulders. He said that his mother’s recovery will not bind him to a school near his Houston home.
“I’m just hoping she will be better by the time I graduate,” Ogunbiyi. “But I’m not really going to let that stop me. It is important to me. I’m hoping she gets better before I leave, but I’m not letting that situation stop me from going to the school that is the best for me.”
“I want to go to a place that will make me happy,” he said. “I feel like the place which will make me happy is the place that I will succeed the best at. If it is the place that I can succeed the best at, then that is the place where I can change our lives forever with that. If I am great at it there.”
The maturity of that statement should never fail to impress. Especially coming from a 16-year-old neophyte in the game of football.
“That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make even though it is probably going to be very hard,” he said.
He does not plan to enroll early. He aims to spend as much time with his mother as possible over the next 13-14 months.
Ogunbiyi has been making their breakfast a lot more over the last month. But he still realizes his blessings.
“It has made me think a lot,” he said. “A lot of people have told me that God has put me in this position to have a chance to change my Mom’s and my brother’s life. Forever. I don’t know how to say it, but I just want to succeed for her.”
SOMEONE SAY SPRING FOOTBALL?! 🤔 (OLD VIDEO) pic.twitter.com/sXVzwGnSJg
— AKI® (@AkinolaOgunbiyi) March 29, 2019
Is Akinola Ogunbiyi a center or a guard?
“Aki” said that most of the schools of interest here are recruiting him as a guard. He realizes he has a lot of work to do.
Ogunbiyi didn’t even start watching football games until he was a freshman in high school. He’s looking for the place where he will be developed the most and the best.
“I think I can get better at everything to be honest,” Ogunbiyi. “I feel like everything that people tell me that I do well that I could still do them better. Just I could be faster and more aggressive off the blocks.”
Why did he de-commit from Texas A&M?
“I just wanted to make sure it was the best thing for me and my family,” he said. “Because when I committed I didn’t really look at any other schools. I didn’t get a chance so I just thought that was the right decision to make there.”
Pittman has made it clear he has clear Sunday potential. Especially given how new he is to the game.
“Coach Pittman has said that I can be a first-round draft pick but I’m not sure if that is just the recruiting talk or what.”
He had one final thought about the location fit at work here. It was another rep along a series of unexpected things he had to say.
“If I’m far away, I may not get to see my mom,” Ogunbiyi said. “I was scared about going away like that to start with, but then I really thought about it. If you really think about it, then if I wind up at [Texas] A&M, then I’m barely going to get to see her if I was there, too.”
“As a student-athlete, I’m not going to have a lot of time on my hands. Do you know what I’m saying? I know College Station is just like an hour away but on those weekends you are not always going to be free. So why don’t I make sure where I am going is right for me? Not just location. Oklahoma is not too far. Georgia is not too far.”
“A plane to Georgia is what? Two hours?”
He’s not sure if his upcoming trip will be an extended day or a one-day trip.
In case you missed it
There was a considerable amount of sunshine over the weekend. The daily DawgNation reader might have been distracted.
I just wanted to make sure all you good people saw two significant commitment date announcements.
The first is from 4-star WR Jermaine Burton. He has been one of the top targets at WR for the Bulldogs in this class.
I will be committing on 4/20/19 on @TEwracademy birthday as he has been a huge influence on me and help mold me into the player I am today…STAY TUNED!!!🤫
— Jermaine Burton Jr. (@dbassassin13) March 30, 2019
I knew this day would come 5 years ago when we 1st started this journey. I am so proud of you and all the hard work you have put in to become one of the top WRs in your class. I will turn 40 and I get to see you commit to the school of your choice. Get your 🍿 ready. #TEwracademy https://t.co/qqe0nvxziF
— TE Wr Academy (@TEwracademy) March 30, 2019
I’m sure most will put the timing together and realize April 20 is also G-Day.
The second decision day comes from 4-star IMG cornerback Lejond Cavazos. The Bulldogs finished second behind Ohio State when he committed to the Buckeyes prior to last season. He backed off that commitment in December after Urban Meyer stepped away as head coach.
Ironically, the two were roommates when Burton played his sophomore season at IMG.
I will be announcing my commitment to one of these six schools on April 12th at 6 pm EST. pic.twitter.com/bjbNKHzFMW
— Lej (@lejondaryy) March 31, 2019
Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.