Gardena (Calif.) Serra defensive end Oluwole Betiku always has a unique take on the recruiting process.
Still new to football, the Nigerian native attended the Trojans’ spring
scrimmage at the Coliseum Saturday in 90-degree heat. The weekend’s soaring
temperatures reminded him a little of home.
“This weather is like Nigeria man” laughed Betiku. “It’s not humid, but
it’s hot like this. I didn’t stay the whole practice, so I didn’t see
the heat affecting the players.
“Actually, I thought things were pretty chill. People say in college
that the coaches yell and scream, but the coaches at USC were laid
back. It was good. It looked like a good environment.”
While Betiku has visited USC before, with so much to absorb about
recruiting and college football, each trip is important. Watching the
team prepare, Betiku felt confident that he could make an impact at USC
“Not to boast or sound cocky, but I felt with the type of coaching they
have and the strength program, I could match up with anyone on the
field,” said Betiku. “I feel like I could go there and cause damage.”
Although raw, Betiku has developed physically into a chiseled 6-foot-3,
242-pound prototype hybrid pass rusher. Up from 235-pounds last year,
Betiku is getting bigger, stronger and faster despite still recovering
from a wrist injury that put him in a cast for several games at the end
of last season.
“I’m doing more short sprints and I’m starting to lift again,” said
Betiku. “I did a lot of long sprints last season trying to build my
endurance up. But I didn’t lift at all - not for a long time.
“So now I’m building my strength up and eating better. I’ve been doing
a lot of rope drills at the school and then technique drills with my
guardian. I do a lot of club and rip moves just to get comfortable with
using my hands. I’m trying to make it second nature so I don’t think
about it when I’m doing it.”
Two years ago, Betiku didn’t even know what club, rip and swim moves
were in regards to football. He spent time watching USC's defensive line
coach Chris Wilson go through some of those drills Saturday.
“Coach Wilson and Tee Martin are really the only two coaches I speak
with at SC,” said Betiku. “I talk with them, and anytime I have any
questions, I usually ask Coach Wilson. We talk all of the time.”
Saturday, Betiku watched the several positions in drills before
leaving, including the defensive line and linebackers. USC is
recruiting Betiku as a rush end in their 3-4 defense.
“People say, ‘Oh you have the frame of an outside linebacker or you can
rush the passer,’” said Betiku. “Whatever, I just want to make it. I
just want to get on the field and find a way to make plays. I want to
be able to play three downs.”
The trip was another enjoyable one for Betiku, although it’s just one
more piece to a bigger puzzle when it comes to deciding on a college.
“SC is SC, lets just put it like that,” said Betiku.
Next up for Betiku will be a visit to UCLA for the Bruins spring
football scrimmage and then a trip back East to Maryland where he got
his start in the United States before moving to Southern California.
“I’ll be up at UCLA to see them and then USC again” said Betiku. “I
have friends back in Maryland who want me to come back and visit. My
first offer was from Maryland, so I want to see Maryland.
“I also want to check out other schools, but you have to pay for the
trips. Coaches keep saying they want me to come see them, but don’t
they know I have to pay for all of this? (laugh)
“It’s not that easy to just jump on a plane, so for some schools, I’ll
wait until I can take official visits.”
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