Practice Tour: Aramide Olaniyan

ORANGE, Va. --- When Woodberry Forest's practice breaks into team drills, Aramide Olaniyan is purposely left on the sidelines.

"In practice, he kills us," Woodberry Forest head football coach Clint Alexander said. "We have to change most of our blocking rules to deal with him. We almost always have to double him, block down on him, use a ‘back to block him, because if we don't we can't get the play off. He's a handful."

Basically, when Olaniyan is on the field, Woodberry Forest's offense is unable to practice its plays.

During Tuesday's afternoon practice, Olaniyan got in on the final four reps of team drills and made three tackles for a loss. During the rest of the snaps, Olaniyan was jumping up and down on the sidelines like a caged animal eager to be released – or in this case, begging to be returned to the field.

Olaniyan, a 6-foot-2, 186-pounder, is being recruited (and is officially listed as) an outside linebacker, but this season he will usually rush from a three-point stance.

"We can play him at any of the front seven spots and he can dominate for us," Alexander said. "So we have a huge advantage with him that we can set up a defensive script week-to-week and use him special. He's so destructive coming off the ball that he gives us a huge advantage. Now, week-to-week we'll move him around based on the scheme we're going to see. There are weeks he'll be at linebacker, there are weeks he'll be a true defensive end or a true outside linebacker and I've used him at some safety."

Olaniyan also plays on most special teams units, and will have a few packages on offense.

Despite his verbal commitment to Duke, Olaniyan plans to take all five of his official visits.

"I'll definitely be making a visit to North Carolina with Ed Reynolds, my roommate and teammate," Olaniyan said. "I've been talking to Coach [Tony] Dews at Michigan, he's setting up an official visit for me, also, so I'm looking forward to that. The only one I have set up is UCLA, which is Nov. 18 against Arizona State. For UNC, I might try to make it up for the Thursday night game against Florida State."

Olaniyan will also officially visit Duke. He is considering Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest for his final official trip spot.

Despite the visits, Olaniyan describes his commitment to Duke as "strong."

"I love everything that [Duke] is doing," Olaniyan said. "Coach [Jim] Collins is a great linebacker coach; it's going to be nice to work with him. But you only have the opportunity to do this once. Later on, I don't want to say ‘Oh man, I wish I went to UCLA, Michigan or North Carolina. I just want to make sure I visit and know why I went somewhere and didn't go somewhere else."

After completing his official visits, Olaniyan believes his recruitment will be finalized.

"I should know the week after I make my final visit," Olaniyan said.

Olaniyan says that his or Reynolds' decision "could" affect the other.

"We talk about recruiting all the time," Olaniyan said. "We're roommates, so at night time during conversations it always comes up.

"He's going to go the path he wants to go. And the same with me, I'm going to go the path I want to go. But it would be great to go to school together."

Reynolds' top three favorite schools are Duke, UNC, and Stanford.

Olaniyan had been on UNC's radar since his junior season. However, he didn't become one of the top linebackers on UNC's recruiting board until attending the final session of UNC's three-day camp.

"I drove up with [my Woodberry Forest teammates], but I visited Duke [the first two days]," Olaniyan said. "Coach Alexander came and got me and said ‘It would be great for you to work out [at UNC's camp].' I went out there with a good attitude and just tried to work as hard as possible for Coach [Art] Kaufman and Coach [Butch] Davis."

Olaniyan completely blew the UNC coaching staff away and earned a scholarship offer.

"It was awesome," Olaniyan said. "UNC had been a school that was back-and-forth about offering me. So to go there and impress them, it's just a good feeling."

Since then, Olaniyan says he's in constant contact with Charlie Williams, UNC's area recruiter.

Aramide Olaniyan

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