Academics, Athletics Important to Odenigbo

Centerville (Ohio) High four-star outside linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo knows four schools he is concentrating on, and mentioned others could join the group.'s No. 2-rated outside linebacker spoke with about how academics fit into his decision, and why, and what he thinks of the Notre Dame program.

Centerville (Ohio) High linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo has been focusing on four schools lately, but other can be added to his mix if he gets the right vibe.

However, one of the known quartet of programs he feels strongly about is Notre Dame, which has the type of academic and athletic blend he wants.

And, with a mother who is a doctor and dad who is a civil engineer, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound isn't talking about academics as an afterthought in the process.

"They're very important," Odenigbo said. "They play a big factor. My parents are of Nigerian descent, and how they got to this country was through hard work and education, and that was one thing they always emphasized with me."

Odenigbo began his athletic career in track and field, but moved to the gridiron for his sophomore season and excelled immediately. He made 40 tackles and had 10 sacks as a junior, which led to him being ranked as's No. 2 outside linebacker in the 2012 class.

"The schools I'm down to are Northwestern, Stanford, Notre Dame and Ohio State, but I plan on visiting four or five other schools, too," he said. "I'd like to make (a decision) in the summer, but we'll see how the season goes. If I can't make up my mind, I'll wait until the season ends."

Schools are recruiting Odenigbo to play defensive end and outside linebacker.

"I really like he feel of outside linebacker," he said. "But at the end of the day, it's whatever helps the team."

Notre Dame running backs coach Tim Hinton is Odenigbo's recruiter, and the two speak frequently.

"We have pretty good relationship," Odenigbo said. "He's pretty energetic, he's pretty sociable, he's really easy to talk to."

Although Odenigbo lives in the Midwest and always heard about Notre Dame's mystique, he didn't truly understand it until a Junior Day visit.

"I always knew Notre Dame had tradition, but I never knew really understood the whole thing," he said. "After being there, it really blew my mind away."

Particularly impressive was the Irish locker room, and a stroll across campus.

"It looks like things from the (early) 1900s," Odenigbo said of the locker room. "Everything is still intact and now I understand what they mean by tradition. The campus is very, very beautiful. It's a beautiful place. I really liked it. People always say when you walk onto Notre Dame, there's something special about it. I understood what they mean by it." Top Stories