With commitment imminent, does nation’s No. 3 DE Azeez Ojulari have UGA on his mind?
Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. All eyes are on Marietta High today as 4-star DE Azeez Ojulari is set to make his decision from a host of SEC options.
Auburn. Clemson. Florida. Georgia. South Carolina. Tennessee.
It will be one of those schools today for Marietta 4-star defensive end Azeez Ojulari. He’s been on commitment watch for 10 days since DawgNation visited him at a misty Blue Devils practice and learned of his decision plan.
Ojulari — born in Austell, Ga., to a family with Nigerian roots — will make his college choice in front of a school assembly at approximately 2:45 p.m. Thursday. DawgNation plans to be there and will offer a live stream of the event from its DawgNation Facebook page.
His Blue Devils open their season Friday night against Wheeler. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder wanted to set it up that way.
He was ready. Ojulari also didn’t want to take any more focus away from his senior season.
“I just feel like if you are really ready and you have seen the place that you really like and like the best out of everyone you are looking at, then this stuff is not that hard,” Ojulari said. “If you have found that place that you really like, then why wait all that time? Just get it done and get it over with if you are ready, if you are comfortable with the place you want to choose as your school.”
5 fast facts on the Azeez Ojulari decision
- Ojulari is rated as the nation’s No. 6 weakside DE and No. 138 player by the 247Sports composite. 247Sports lists him as the nation’s No. 3 weakside DE and No. 25 overall player for this cycle.
- He didn’t need long to make his choice. He picked up most of his major offers in the month prior and just after spring practice earlier this year.
- His vertical leap was measured at 39.8 inches at Nike’s The Opening in Atlanta.
- The rest of his Nike Opening combine testing numbers were very strong. His 114.54 score as a DE/OLB hybrid tested better than a lot of other UGA targets, including 4-star WR Kearis Jackson. That was the 15th-best Sparq rating out of all the front 7 (DEs and LBs) types who were tested.
- The 4-star DE is just 5 pounds off the school record of 335 pounds in the power clean. Ojulari also can bench press 355 pounds and squat 500-plus in the weight room. Marietta High coach Richard Morgan said he was the strongest Blue Devil on the team.
5 fast opinions on the Azeez Ojulari decision
- The popular 247Sports Crystal Ball feature has 11 predictions. The tally reads 10 for UGA and one to Florida. That’s a 91 percent forecast. I think that’s right.
- He listed off a lot of teams, but I think it will come down to Florida and Georgia. That’s the way I have viewed this race for quite some time.
- If Ojulari chooses UGA, I wouldn’t deem him to be a likely redshirt candidate. He is a much more advanced player at this stage than even 2017 signee Robert Beal Jr. What he lacks in football savvy or experience, he makes up for with coachability, relentless effort and determination.
- When he makes this decision, I feel he will shut it down. No more visits to any other school. He’s just that ready.
- UGA running backs coach Dell McGee and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer have been big factors here. McGee is the area recruiter for Cobb County. Sherrer’s reputation as a standout recruiter (Tray Bishop, Tyler Clark, Chauncey Manac, Julian Rochester, Caleb Tannor) continues to stack up.
Checking in with Warren Ericson
I always enjoy speaking with UGA 4-star commit Warren Ericson. He’s gotten a considerable haircut just in time for his senior season. Ericson was on hand at the Corky Kell luncheon on Wednesday that previews the kickoff to the Georgia high school season on Thursday (Mercer University) and then both Friday and Saturday at the new Georgia State Stadium.
Ericson is the type of player who would ponder getting a Mohawk for his senior season but logic would prevail otherwise.
He’s got just that bit of a wild edge, but also the right amount of common sense and sensibility to not act on that first impulse.
He’s taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the remaining decisions by major Bulldogs targets this week. That would be Ojulari Thursday and 4-star wide receiver target Kearis Jackson on Saturday.
“I’m really excited though to see what is going to happen,” Ericson said.
He has a different approach.
“I try not to be that bee in the ear guy unless I’m approached,” he said. “But then I do try to be among the first to welcome them in [to the class] once they do commit.”
Jamaree Salyer told me recently he felt Georgia line coach Sam Pittman’s dream shopping list for 2018 would include Ericson and current commit Owen Condon, plus three other uncommitted targets. That’s Salyer, Houston County 4-star offensive guard Trey Hill and then massive 6-foot-8 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) tackle Daniel Faalele.
Ericson said that’s what he has heard, too.
“That’s for sure what I would hope to see at Georgia,” Ericson said. “In talking with coach Pittman, for me, I really talk to him about the interior of the line. For me, then Jamaree and Trey and I are all interior linemen.”
He knows the plan on how those three elite interior prospects might fit into that “Great Wall of Georgia” that DawgNation message board users are fond of.
“I talk to coach Pittman more about the interior of the line because Jamaree and Trey and I are all interior guys,” Ericson said. “…. I think what coach Sam thinks is if Jamaree and Trey commit, then we will then see who can play center the best. Then that person will get it for down the road. Then the best at left guard will get left guard and so on.
“It is all about what is best for the team and for Georgia with that. That’s how he plans on working all of that out.”
He has zero hesitation about having to compete with those players. That also includes a pair of highly regarded interior 2017 signees in Netori Johnson and Justin Shaffer.
“It all goes back to whether you want to compete or not,” Ericson said. “It is that simple. If you make it all way to the NFL, you will have to compete against great guys, too. Why try to find an easy road in college? That stuff just makes you better. With Georgia now, yes there are great players there already and maybe more to come.”
“But why would you want to go somewhere you could get a starting spot automatically and it not really be the best fit for you? You get to a place and feel good about it and use that to help you to continue to progress if you get that spot. Because all those good guys there will want to take your spot as well.”
Ericson plans to enroll early in the Class of 2018 at UGA. He was the first recruit profiled in our Film Don’t Lie series that takes a hard scouting look at the 2018 commits.
Are you all caught up on your Intel? Miss a day? Well, the DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to Mecole Hardman speed before your tailgate crew can worry anymore about all the freshman offensive linemen who will have to play this fall.