Brockton (Mass.) Thayer Academy four-star defensive end Samuel Okunlola has collected nearly three dozen scholarship offers and added a huge one to his list over the weekend when Clemson pulled the trigger.
“It felt exciting,” Okunlola said of the offer from the Tigers. “It’s definitely a good feeling, getting an offer from one of the best schools in the country.”
Clemson defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall informed Okunlola of the offer on Saturday after he spoke with defensive coordinator Brent Venables a few hours earlier.
“When I talked to Coach Venables, he just checked in with me, asked how I was doing and just told me some of the facts about Clemson,” Okunlola said. “Just told me to keep on doing research, and just told me about the history with pass rushers and all that.”
The Tigers offered the 6-foot-4, 225-pound class of 2022 prospect as an edge rusher who could be deployed as a defensive end or outside linebacker.
“I’m twitchy off the edge and have speed, can get to the quarterback, can play in space and also stop the run,” Okunlola said of what Clemson likes about his game. “I play with a lot of intensity.”
Okunlola got the ball rolling with Clemson when he reached out to Venables in January and sent him his film, and things progressed from that point.
“We went from there, did a virtual visit and all that, and they’ve just been checking in every once in a while,” Okunlola said.
In addition to Venables and Hall, Okunlola has talked with other members of Clemson’s defensive staff and is building a good relationship with the Tigers.
“They’re all good coaches, as we all know,” he said. “You can see it based off the players they’ve produced. They’re all great coaches and all good people, too.”
Along with Clemson, Okunlola is hearing a lot from schools such as Penn State, Colorado, Arizona State, Duke, Indiana and Vanderbilt.
He doesn’t have a timeline for when he will narrow down his recruitment and make his decision but wants to trim his list to a smaller group of schools moving forward and then make trips to check out those schools.
“That will all come when I cut down my list, like what schools I would exactly go to (visit),” he said. “I definitely look forward to taking a look at Clemson.”
As Okunlola goes through the recruiting process, he is simply trying to find the best fit for him at the next level, both academically and athletically.
“I’d say fit as a student and an athlete, does it fit me as a student and an athlete,” he said of what he is looking for in a school. “Hopefully I can go on some visits and see the culture and the people.”
Clemson certainly has Okunlola’s attention after extending an offer.
“I’m interested a lot,” he said. “That’s really all I can say. My recruitment’s still open. But I’m definitely interested.”
A few things stand out to Okunlola when he considers the Tigers as one of his college options.
“The culture, the history, the players they’ve produced,” he said.
Okunlola is rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, which ranks him as the No. 3 player in the state of Massachusetts, the No. 11 weakside defensive end nationally and a top-250 national prospect (No. 231 overall) in the 2022 class.
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