I recently spoke with VA LB Aramide Olaniyan about the importance of academics in his college choice and his recent decision to take visits to other schools. Aramide is a linebacker prospect currently committed to Duke, which is obviously one of the better academic programs in the country.
Olaniyan's current high school had a lot to do with his emphasis on academics. “I go to a private boarding school right now, and I usually have about 3 hours of homework every night,” he said. “I could’ve gone to a public school, but I really like challenging myself every day, and thought this was one of the best schools in the area.”
If you talked to 100 recruits, 90 of them would say that academics are important. Not many would really mean it. Olaniyan is one who means it. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, so I’ll probably major in political science,” he said.
When asked if he loved football or academics more, he said, “That’s a tough question. I don’t think there’s a single person playing college football that doesn’t want to make it to the NFL. I would say they’re about the same for me. I love both of them equally. If the NFL doesn’t work out, then I would love to have a great degree.”
If Michigan's strong program in political science isn't enough of a draw, then Michigan's new emphasis on hybrid players might help. Olaniyan's familiar with the position. “I actually play a hybrid linebacker position right now," he said. "Sometimes I have my hand down, and sometimes I drop back. Michigan is really the only one recruiting me for the hybrid, everyone else is really linebacker. I have talked to coach Dews about it, and we’ve stayed in good contact so far.”
As per usual these days, Michigan's commits are doing their best to recruit Olaniyan too. Austin White struck up a friendship with Olaniyan at the Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 in Orlando. “We hung out a lot down in Florida," said Olaniyan. "Every time there was some down time, we were hanging out together, he’s a cool guy. He was telling me about Michigan, and how great it is, he was definitely recruiting me. I got his number, and we’ve stayed in touch.”
Olaniyan says he's still firmly committed to Duke despite his desire to visit other schools. “I just want to be in a situation where I know I made the right choice," he said. "I want to visit all the schools that I like, and weigh my options; just make sure I made the right choice. I don’t want to end up with any regrets, and I just want to know that I made the best decision.” The Blue Devil coaches know that he’s taking his visits and are confident that he’ll stay committed to their program.
Olaniyan plans to visit with Duke, Michigan, UCLA, and North Carolina. UCLA’s visit has already been scheduled for their game against ASU on November 21st. He’s not sure of the exact date that he will be visiting Michigan, but he knows it will happen.
My last question, to test his commitment, was what he would do if he really enjoyed any of his visit. “Well, I don’t know," he laughed. "If I like them better, then I’ll sit down with my parents, and make sure they feel comfortable. I’ll just take all my visits, and see where I stand, and how I feel about all the schools. We’ll see what happens.”