Football Is The Second Priority

While most eighth graders are trying to find the quickest way to easy street academically, Aramide Olaniyan was completely the opposite.

When it was time to pick what high school he was going to attend, Aramide Olaniyan decided Woodberry Forest (Va.) School would be much more beneficial and challenging for him, than the local public school.

Olaniyan told his parents he wanted to attend the all-boys boarding school because he wanted the best academic opportunity he could get.

"My parents have always been talking to me about how academics come first," Olaniyan said. "They always said it's the most important thing. It made me want to take challenging courses and challenge myself.

"I just thought I needed to get out of the environment I was in, and go to another school."

Now a junior, Olaniyan is planning on using the same strategy in picking a college, that he used back in eighth grade to choose a high school.

The curve ball is football.

The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Olaniyan is one of the best linebackers in the recruiting class-of-2010, and he has already racked up scholarship offers from Stanford, Maryland, Boston College, Wake Forest and Duke.

"North Carolina and Virginia should be coming around next week," Olaniyan said. "Hopefully UCONN too.

"And hopefully a Notre Dame offer when I go up there."

Olaniyan will be in South Bend for Notre Dame's junior day this coming Saturday. He is coming with one of his assistant coaches.

"Academics is the most important thing," Olaniyan said of his college decision. "That's the thing I'm looking for the most. Also a great football program. That's pretty much what I'm looking for in a school."

Olaniyan can't wait to take a good look at Notre Dame.

"I just love how they have great academics and a great football program," he said. "There is a lot of football tradition at Notre Dame, like my football team here. I think Notre Dame would be a great fit for me.

"I want to meet all the coaches and see how I fit in at Notre Dame."

This past season, Olaniyan, who plays defensive end, had 60 tackles, with 27 of those coming for loss including 13 sacks. He forced five fumbles, recovered one, and also had an interception, helping lead Woodberry to an 8-1 record and a season finale 25-13 victory over Episcopal, in the 108th-straight meeting between the two schools.

In December, Notre Dame assistant coach Ron Powlus paid a visit to the school to see Olaniyan. Last week, Olaniyan talked to Irish linebackers coach Jon Tenuta over the phone.

"He just said a lot of great things," Olaniyan recapped. "He said coach Powlus really liked me, and they enjoyed my film, and they can't wait to see me in person so they can look at my frame and everything like that."

Tenuta didn't go into much detail about what the Irish coaches liked about Olaniyan's film, but other programs have.

"Just the way I get off the ball. I think my first step is what the coaches like the most. They say I'm physical and I play fast."

Olaniyan has previously taken trips to North Carolina, Connecticut, Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest and Duke. He'd like to make a verbal commitment before the start of his senior season. That way, Olaniyan can put his attention towards football and the books.

"The academics here are very hard," Olaniyan said. He has a 2.8 GPA. "It's a great academic school. They challenge us everyday. I'm studying two, three hours a night, trying to get my grades up a little higher."

Just like he drew it up in eighth grade.


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