Michigan prep DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji commits to Notre Dame
Adetokunbo Ogundeji walked into Brian Kelly's office last month and heard exactly what he was hoping to:
The truth, not the fairy tale.
"That’s one thing that I wanted, to be challenged," Ogundeji said. "When I walked into the coach’s office, the first thing he talked about was just trying to get me better — my grades and how I play on the football field. Once I saw that, and saw that they actually care, that really made a big difference.”
Ogundeji — a 6-foot-4, 215-pound defensive end that verbally committed to Notre Dame on Thursday — didn't want to be told he was the best player in the world, like many desperate recruiters often will. He knew that wasn't the case.
Instead, he wanted to hear Notre Dame's plan for how to help him get there.
"That was the biggest thing," Ogundeji said. "Talking about me being good is great, but I want to know what you’re going to do to get me better. What do you think I need to work on?
"You can tell me I can be this or that, but I want you to tell me what I need to do to be great. They were telling me what I need to do to be great.”
For Ogundeji, great is a reachable goal, not a reality. A consensus three-star prospect, he racked up 68 tackles, nine sacks, 17 pass deflections and four fumble recoveries in the 2014 season, earning all-league and all-county honors in the process. The Walled Lake, Mich., product has made steady advances since his football career began four short years ago.
He has come a long way, but still has a ways to go.
“This is one guy that has the length and long arms and quick burst that you need to start out with," CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. "And then (defensive line coach) Keith Gilmore and the strength coach at Notre Dame will have to play a big part in (his development).”
Though he's somewhat of a local product, Notre Dame didn't discover Ogundeji until the raw defensive end visited South Bend for a camp on June 20. He was offered a few days later, and took an unofficial visit to campus on the weekend of June 27.
“When I went there, I already knew, ‘This might be it,’" Ogundeji said. "I had a great time there.”
Ogundeji will be seeing much more of that campus in the coming years. The Walled Lake Central High School standout and former Western Michigan commit chose the Irish over scholarship offers from the likes of Oregon, California, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Toledo and more.
He becomes Notre Dame's second defensive end commit in the 2016 class, joining four-star prospect Julian Okwara, and represents the Irish's 13th overall commitment. Linebacker Jamir Jones could eventually play defensive end for the Notre Dame as well.
Hopefully, given a few years to hone his skills, that will prove to be a lucky number for both Ogundeji and Notre Dame.
“I understand that I’m a raw person, but I think I just need to work on my upside — getting stronger and bigger," Ogundeji said. "That’s what I’ve been working on in the offseason. I know I’m a long person, and most of the time I’m just going into the offensive line and not knowing that I can use my hands to keep them off me. I need to use my hands much better.
"One thing I know I am is a coachable person. I know my coaches will make me better.”
— Mike Elston (@CoachMikeElston) July 16, 2015//
— Scott Booker (@CoachSBooker) July 16, 2015//
— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) July 16, 2015//