BEAVERTON, Ore. – Five-star defensive end Oluwole Betiku aced the eye test on Tuesday when he arrived at The Opening. Notre Dame will get a chance to make a similarly perfect impression on the nation’s No. 3 defensive end come fall.
“I will take an official visit to Notre Dame for sure,” Betiku said. “The academics, the Irish culture, the alumni base, it’s all very good.”
“I will cut my list down again after I take my visits in the fall,” Betiku said. “I’ve only seen UCLA because it’s close and I saw Penn State my sophomore year.”
The Nigerian native moved to the United States in 2013 and attends Gardena (Calif.) Serra. Betiku calls former NFL and Penn State linebacker LaVar Arrington his mentor in the recruiting process but has adopted the mindset that choosing a college destination is ultimately his own decision.
“I talk to (Arrington) about it, but he lets me do what I want,” Betiku said. “He talks about (Penn State) all the time, but at this point in my life I can decide for myself. He respects that it’s my decision. He tries to say good things about Penn State and how it’s a great school, but he knows that where I want to go is where I want to go.”
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound athlete wants to find a fit outside of football.
“Just where I feel comfortable, where I feel at home,” Betiku said. “Even if I’m not playing well, the environment will still support me and I can still pick myself back up. Even I get injured or something happens and you can’t play, you might get depressed with the surroundings, so I want to like what is around me outside of football. That’s what I want to see.”
Notre Dame associate head coach Mike Denbrock is the lead recruiter on Betiku for the Irish.
“I talk to coach Denbrock a lot,” Betiku said. “He really wants me to come visit and has explained to me more about Notre Dame. It all sounds very good, I just need to see it for myself.”
Due to his elite blend of speed, power and athleticism, Betiku has emerged as one of the choice names at The Opening. He’s braced with the potential to put on a dominant display.
“I just want to compete,” Betiku said. “The season is coming up, so I just want to get better and listen to what the coaches have to say.”
Despite his recent rise of acclaim in the national recruiting setting, the expectations Betiku has set for himself have not changed.
“I’m really not that kind of player,” Betiku said. “When the ball snaps and it’s time to work, I get to work. If I lose a rep then the guy going against me probably has good technique. I watch good pro players all of the time and they don’t win all of their reps. I kind of approach it like I’m going to win more reps than the tackle, I’m going to win every time, but if he beats me on speed or I make a mistake, I just sit back, look at the mistake and learn from it. Every camp I go to I make mistakes, but I go back home, watch the videos and the next camp I try to do better.”
Betiku plans to major in information technology in college.
“You get paid well doing that, you know?” Betiku said.
Betiku is a five-star prospect and is ranked as the No. 3 defensive end in the Class of 2016.