EXCLUSIVE: Aramide Olaniyan on Signing Day

Wow. What a kid. Can’t say much about him that you won’t be able to tell in this interview.

Better yet, he really wants to do a chat next week *he’s one of the special guests I was talking about* and we have it tentatively planned for Tuesday night at 4 p.m.

Check out my interview with Olaniyan after the jump, and click on his name for his recruiting profile…

What was signing day like for you?
“It was great – I felt like a fan. The signing day special on ESPNU, I turned it on at 10 and watched it until four, watching all those guys announce and declare. I couldn’t sleep the whole night before, though. I wanted it to happen so bad. I was ready at 7 (Eastern time), I think I sent mine in at 4:01 a.m. It was a great feeling. I was glad to get it done with and finally be a Bruin.”

As a fan for a day, were you impressed by the class UCLA ended with?“When you play with real good players, it makes you better. I’m already looking forward to playing like guys like Josh Shirley and Owa and Jordan, Derrick Bryant, Cash, Dietrich – those are guys I’ve had a chance to build some relationships with. It’s a great feeling – Coach Neuheisel has been talking about championships and just having such a great class defensively. I can’t wait to get there in the summer?

So you’re coming early?“I’ll be there June 15th, but I’ll also be out for the spring game and get a chance to meet some of the guys and go around campus.”

How did UCLA get such a great class despite its recent record?“It’s always great to not just hop up on the bandwagon but start something on the ground floor floor. You talk to Coach Neuheisel and you get that feeling that championships will be won. The reason he pulls in such a great recruiting class is he relates to us. He studied Political Science and was a laywer, things I see myself doing after my career. A great recruiter, a great family man – my mom raves about him all the time. You don’t win games with your previous records. Next year, we’ll bring the Bruins back to a national level.”

Talk about coming to the West coast all the way from Virginia?“I’m the kind of guy that always likes doing something new. I’ve been at boarding school since I was 13. Being away from home really isn’t that big of a deal. Coming out to the West coast, able to gain this new experience will be great.”

You played a lot of the season as a hybrid linebacker/end, how will that serve you at UCLA?
“Starting off the year, my coach Alexander knew UCLA would want me at an outside linebacker that blitzes a lot. Coach Alexander recognized that, and I practiced with the linebackers all season. I played one game as a middle linebacker, a couple as an outside. The transition will definitely be hard, but I hope that I can pick things fast enough, hopefully be able to contribute. But I’d be more than happy to redshirt, too.”

With Reggie Carter, Kyle Bosworth, Alterraun Verner and several other defensive leaders gone, there is a void not just of experience, but leadership – how do you hope to continue that?
“Being a leader is not just being on the field but off the field. Taking care of business in the classroom and not getting into any trouble off the field – man, my mom would kill me if I did. It’s about making sure I do eveyrhting to be a leader. I want to be a guy. I know that I want to do that, what I’ll be able to bring to the UCLA football team.”

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  • diehardbruin

    AO is going to be a stud and represents the kind of student athlete we want at UCLA. Reading this interview makes me proud to be a Bruin alum. To know that CRN is recruiting such high caliber, intelligent, team-first kids makes me so excited about next season.

  • g2ucla

    Welcome to the Bruin Fsmily Aramide!!!

  • Coach Thom

    Aramide sounds like the kind of young man I would love to have as a son. I’m sure he’s a man of high ethics as well as talent. Welcome to the Bruin family, Aramide!

  • Mutombo

    Great interview, I’m really looking forward to seeing what this kid can do on and off the field. Welcome!

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t all 17/18 year-olds be like this?

    Well spoken, team-oriented, academically focused, humble, fearless and an incredible athlete.

    And that’s not even including what we’ve heard about how teammates tend to rally around his personality and his tenacity.

  • jaybru777

    A.O. Well spoken, hard worker, see’s the big picture. I have noticed that this year’s class is extremely dedicated and Intelligent. Well done Coach. Ucla is back..Great players push average players!

  • John in the LB

    Great to see the caliber of student athlete that UCLA is attracting. Guess this is the difference Lane Kiffin is referring to…

  • WHAT’S YOUR DEAL?

    What a great sounding kid. You’ve got to think he got it from a Mom who raised him well. Great read. I only wish I could pronounce his name with the respect it deserves. I’m sure UCLA will have a pronunciation guide for those of us who may struggle with that one. Until then, AO it is!! Owa will be tough too.

  • BradleyBruin

    This reminds me of the difference between kids that go to UCLA and the kids that go to USC. Why waste time continuing to recruit them, we know within the first 10 minutes whether they’re the type of guy that wants to play here or there. He wants to come play with the best, guys that aren’t worried about depth charts or playing time.

  • scott

    Interesting that he indicated his coach knew that UCLA would want him as a blitzing LB at the beginning of the year. Wonder if that means he was pretty much committed then or not. Regardless, seems like great communication by the UCLA coaches (or, alternatively, astute deduction skills by the coach) and a very accommodating attitude by the coach to maximize his chances for a D1 schollie. Love that it worked out!

  • Ryan

    What a quality kid and overall class. I can’t wait for my son to meet some of these great kids at the Spring game.

  • theuclan

    Welcome to So Cal AO… Go Bruins….

  • INawe

    hahahahaha @BradleyBruin

  • BruinChick

    What an impressive guy! I just love the caliber of players we have been getting – such integrity and intelligence! Welcome AO!

  • Mario DiLeo

    Looks like young Mr. Olaniyan will be a PoliSci major as opposed to Leisure Services Mgmt. as some other “colleges” offer…

  • Mike H class of 90

    That 186 was back in 2008, Anon (probably summer since it looks like it was taken at a camp of some sort)…

    Rivals has him listed at 202 and an article in the “Daily Progress” says 205.

  • Sid

    The guy will be a pure speed rusher. 215-220 will be an ideal weight for him, and he’s got the frame to add on that weight.

    He’s also gotta be agile enough to pick up backs out of the backfield on flares, so he can’t bulk up too much.

  • RC3UCLA

    As with the rest of my fellow BRUIN fans, I am equally impressed with young Mr. Olaniyan. It’s no wonder why Coach Neuheisel and staff were so high on him! He is a fine example of just the type of kid UCLA wants on campus as a student-athlete. Think he’ll do well as a future host? I wish you well on your future endeavours, Aramide!

  • RC3UCLA

    Jon- Gotta thank you for all the work you put in trying to appease us die-hards during this past season and hectic week. Your efforts are greatly appreciated…After reading this past chat with AO, I’ve definitely got a new appreciation for the type of research CRN and staff put in in determining who they’ll recruit. I am especially thankful for allowing us fans the opportunity to be introduced to and become acquainted with our new BRUINS, and no longer see them as merely “gets.” Keep up the outstanding work…

  • Anonymous

    Jon,

    we need you to quash another chow leaving rumor… can you work your magic and find something out?

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/339599-something-to-chew-on-wheres-norm-chow

  • UnwantedYetUndauntedGrammarPolice

    don’t worry, anon @9:41 PM, we know she is just a trogan shill ala shilley smith cuz she spells just like their new WR. she refers to mental ‘masterbation’ in her last line in the article.

  • Toejam Football

    “He studied Political Science and was a laywer,”

    Hmm. It’s almost as if UCLA prides itself on being an academic institution, and it reflects in their hirings and signings.

    Meanwhile, across town…

    Lane “I got a degree in Leisure Service Management from Fresno State” Kiffin reflects all too well the priorities of his own employing institution.

    Such a sad state of affairs.

  • RickBruin

    thanks Jon for the article, I hope CRN can take Coach Wooden’s philosophy and adapt it to Bruin FB

  • Anonymous

    Rumor has it that Henderson didn’t sign his LOI and we still have a shot. Is there any info on this? Are we still recruiting and signing right now?

  • Boston Bruin

    Aramide,

    You seem to be an actual example of the well-worn moniker, (but erroneous for most) “student-athlete.”

    We are losing one in Alturran V. (Math major and All American). You seem to have the skills athletically and intellectually to pick up that mantel.

    I realize I might sound like the old dude I am, but I would much rather spend time with UCLA’s Chris Joseph, a Rhodes Scholar, than with any of the Trojan’s Heisman Trophy winners. I love football, but there’s more to life.

    I hope you do do was well as AV and CJ in the classroom and on the field!

    Thanks for choosing our Alma Mater!