ESPN identifies Georgia outside linebacker as potential star following strong spring
Few Georgia football players had a better spring practice session than Georgia outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari. And one ESPN writer thinks it could be the start of something much bigger for the redshirt freshman.
With spring practice wrapped up for just about every time around the country, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg identified a number of players who could grow into star players come the fall.
And his nomination for the Georgia football wasn’t one of the many 5-star players on Georgia’s roster. It was the redshirt sophomore from Marietta.
“Ojulari, who last season was still working back from an ACL injury, elevated his play during spring practice,” Rittenberg wrote. “Somewhat overlooked in Georgia’s top-rated 2018 recruiting class, Ojulari could provide some pass-rushing help for a defense that needs it. Linebacker D’Andre Walker led Georgia with 7.5 sacks in 2018, but no other Bulldog had more than two sacks.
Ojulari was a 4-star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class out of Marietta. But unlike 5-star Nolan Smith, Ojulari wasn’t able to contribute from the jump as he dealt with a torn ACL.
Ojulari only appeared in three games during the 2018 season as he recovered from his injury. But he began to turn things around last December.
While many think that Georgia mailed in its Sugar Bowl performance, Ojulari did not. He used the extra bowl practices to get better. When Walker missed the game with an injury, Ojulari was turned to as a replacement.
And while he missed an opportunity to sack Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, the fact that he was in that position shows the strides he made over the course of the extra practices
This spring, Ojulari continued to make improvements. Despite having the likes of Brenton Cox, Adam Anderson and a host of other talented outside linebacker prospects, Ojulari was able to earn his way onto the first team defense for Georgia’s spring game.
“He’s playing better,” Smart said of Ojulari. “Not where he needs to be, he’s got to get more physical, he’s got to go play on Andrew (Thomas) and Isaiah (Wilson). But, he’s playing a lot better because of what he did for the bowl game as opposed to just starting now.”
Ojulari was also named one of Georgia’s Coffee County Hustle Award winners, which goes to the top players from spring practice.
Georgia was one of the worst pass rushing team’s in the SEC a season ago, as it finished the regular season with only 20 sacks. Smart has spoken at length this spring about creating more havoc plays.
And given his growth, Ojulari certainly looks like a player who could create a lot of havoc for the Bulldogs this coming season.
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