Oluwole Betiku gingerly placed left hand on the turf, bent his knees, and raised his head. His eyes locked in on his target, a large, red rectangular pad meant to represent a quarterback.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound defensive end looked unsure of himself as he got set on the line. After all, it was only his second time going one-on-one against an offensive lineman, and he didn't exactly have the easiest opponent for his first rep. In front of Betiku stood Jauan Williams, a 2016 offensive tackle with offers from some of the top schools in the country.
But the uncertainty disappeared as soon as he heard one of the coaches yell, "SET."
Betiku exploded off the line and blew past the four-star Williams, reaching the big red pad with a vicious ease.
"I was kind of nervous," Betiku said. "I haven't really had a chance to go one-on-one yet. My first time was at Rivals, so this was just my second time, and I really wanted to do better."
Betiku relied heavily on his raw athleticism and used little technique, but that made his performance even more impressive. His raw athleticism, speed, and aggression helped him get by the highly touted Williams, not once but twice, and he also blew by 2015 four-star Patrick Allen.
Betiku moved to America in November, and after being discovered at a football camp in Nigeria. He has only played football for less than a year, making it scary to think what he could do when he masters the finer details of the game.
In his native Nigeria, Betiku grew up playing soccer and basketball, but he has finally found his niche playing American football. Betku enrolled at Bishop McNamara (Foresville, Md.) where he will have two years of high school eligibility to play for head coah Keith Gogianious, while his mentor, Lavar Arrington—whom he calls his "American Dad—is teaching him how to play the game.
"He [Arrington] has taught me so many things, right now we are focusing on the mental game of football," Betiku said. "He tells me that it's not all about the physical part. You have to know the game and understand your opponents. You have to be mentally prepared."
He said, "Last time I did one-on-one's I used a lot of strength, so he has been showing me hand moves and we have really been working on those."
Meanwhile, while Betiku has yet to play a down of high school football he has already picked up his first college offer from the University of Maryland.
"I couldn't believe it when I found out," Betiku said. "When I found out about the offer it came as like a shock because I haven't played a game yet, so it makes me want to work harder because I know I have to live up to it."
He added: "I don't know too much about Maryland, but I know they have a good coach and my friend Nnamdi [Egbuaba] is going there next year.
Other schools, like Arrington's alma mater Penn State, are also on the radar. In fact, Penn State is the first and only college Betiku has ever seen, and the Nittany Lions set the bar high.
"I know Lavar played there, I got to try on his jersey No.11, the sticks" Betiku said. "The experience was beautiful. I didn't know football was this big in America because looking at it from Nigeria, where I come from, I thought it was just like you just go and play. When I saw the stadium and the way they treat the players, and everything I was really impressed."
Although Penn State might be the early favorite, Betiku said he is open and interested in any college right now and he is looking for the school that is the best fit for him.
And there are plenty of schools that are interested. Michigan, Duke, North Carolina State, Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, and North Carolina, are just some of the programs that have stopped by during the evaluation period, along with Maryland and Penn State.
"I am still getting used to everything in America," Betiku said. "This is definitely new for me, but it is fun to come out and be able to play football."
Betiku is One to Watch
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